20 Sep 2017
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Sony’s focus on progressive content that makes for family viewing

MUMBAI: Hindi GEC Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has been experimenting with its programming for the past few months.

The channel has employed several tricks to attract eyeballs and increase its viewership—from introducing new thematic stories to expanding programming hours. While its strong weekend line-up has garnered positive response, the channel is still experimenting with its weekday programming. As a result, several new shows have been introduced and some have been taken off air.

When it comes to programming strategy, the channel wants to bring in progressive content that makes for family viewing.

As SET senior creative director Ashish Golwalkar said, “We are coming back to our original programming stand. As a channel, we are urban and slightly male inclusive, so most of our shows have strong male protagonists. Nevertheless, our shows, such as ‘Beyhadh’ and ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’, also have strong female protagonists, which makes for family viewing. We have tried to experiment with other shows, but it didn’t get us the dividend we hoped for, so we are falling back on our original strategy.”

To introduce a differentiated concept, SET has launched a new comedy show called ‘The Drama Company’. It features an eclectic mix of the finest comedians in a theatrical plot portraying different characters each week. The show will explore multiple genres of comedy—from topical, dramatised to physical comedy.

Produced by Lil Frodo and Frame Productions, ‘The Drama Company’ will have veteran Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty to play the character of Shambhu Dada. The actor will accompany renowned comedians such as Ali Asgar, Sanket Bhosale, Sugandha Mishra, Krushna Abhishek, Sudesh Lehri, Ridhima Pandit, Tanaji and Aru Verma.

Every episode will feature the team of misfits aspiring to make a blockbuster a play to impress Shambhu Dada in exchange for a promise of a world tour. But as luck would have it, nothing will go right. The hilarious turn of events will push the madcap team to start afresh with a brand-new play every week. In reality, Shambhu Dada is a sham, who is running his own business by selling tickets for the play.

The finite series has replaced the kids’ reality show ‘Sabse Bada Kalakar’ and will precede the channel’s popular ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’. ‘The Drama Company’ is scheduled to air every weekend from 16 July at 8 pm.

Generally, SET broadcasts a talent hunt show at 8 pm, but with the launch of ‘The Drama Company’, it will showcase two back-to-back comedy shows.

Commenting on this, Golwalkar stated, “We were looking for a talent show to replace ‘Sabse Bada Kalakar’. We had ‘Super Dancer 3’, but we didn’t want to push it to an earlier slot. It was launched in October last year. Even this year, we want to maintain the frame of September–October. ‘The Drama Company’ has a very fresh concept and we always aim to continue with fresher concepts in the same genre.”

The channel has recently launched a promo of its upcoming series ‘Pehredar Piya Ki’.

“I don’t think it’s regressive. Yes, there are some dark bits, but the overall show is very progressive. I think people should watch it; right now they are just responding to a promo. What you see in the promo will happen, but the reason why it happens will only be known when you watch it. As a channel, we are trying to figure out what is attracting viewers and what is not. There are some shows that click, while the ones that don’t work go off air and new content comes in,” he added

Currently, the channel has a motley of shows which are all set for launch this year. These include ‘Pehredar Piya Ki’, ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, ‘Mere Sai’ and ‘Vighnaharta Ganesha’.

The next launch is ‘Pehredar Piya Ki’, which will air from 17 July, Monday–Friday, at 8.30 pm.

SET’s present content line-up consists of ‘Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage’, ‘Peshwa Bajirao’, ‘Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanumaan’, ‘Beyhadh’, ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’, ‘Crime Patrol’, ‘CID’ and ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’.