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SET goes for four-hour weekend programming

MUMBAI: After a complete overhaul of its weekday fiction programming, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is now planning to strengthen its weekend fiction line-up.

While the channel already airs three crime-based shows, namely ‘Adaalat’, ‘CID’ and ‘Crime Patrol’, on weekends, it is set to bring back one of its popular crime dramas, ‘Bhanwar’, after over a decade and a half.

The show will launch on 10 January, airing at 9 pm on weekends. This will see SET’s original weekend programming hours extending from three to four hours, making it the only Hindi GEC to do so. All other channels telecast around one to two hours of original programming on weekends.

Starting tomorrow, viewers will be treated to ‘Adalaat’ at 8 pm, followed by ‘Bhanwar: Kalyug Ki Hairatangez Kahaniyaa’ at 9 pm, ‘CID’ at 10 pm and ‘Crime Patrol’ at 11 pm. This means the channel will air four hours of crime-based shows back to back.

Asked if this would be an overkill of the genre, SET chief creative director Ajay Bhalwankar told TelevisionPost.com, “Bhanwar was a popular show on the channel when it aired in the late 1990s. It will now add a new dimension to crime-based stories. We are pioneers of the genre and I don’t think this is an overkill of the crime genre.”

The courtroom drama series will take viewers through a thrilling and emotional journey revolving around stories of human excesses. The show will depict stories inspired by true events, aiming to capture the volatility of social relationships.

It will be produced by Abhimanyu Singh’s Contiloe Entertainment Pvt Ltd and Anshuman Kishore Singh’s Sunshine Rise Productions.

SET seems to be betting big on the show to increase its weekend viewership. To lure more viewers, it also plans to bring back its popular horror series ‘Aahat’ after a long break.

Bhalwankar states that having launched several new fiction shows for the weekday line-up, the channel is now laying its focus on weekends. In the last four months, except for ‘Maharana Pratap’, the channel has refreshed its entire fiction line-up for weekdays.

While the shows are yet to rake in substantial eyeballs, Bhalwankar is confident that the channel is on the right track. “Fiction shows take some time to germinate, though we are happy with the way ‘Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyaar’ and ‘Hum Hai Na’ are progressing. Programming is a continuous and ongoing process,” he said.

This year the channel is also expected to launch the singing reality show ‘Indian Idol’.