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Why is it right for Sony to bet on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’

MUMBAI: For Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India CEO NP Singh, the bet on ace comedian Kapil Sharma could just be the right move. Sony Entertainment Television (SET), the network’s flagship channel, has been struggling to up the ratings and Sharma could immediately bring back the weekend viewers. Buzz would follow and sampling of the channel’s other shows could increase.

When Sony is in the midst of a revamp plan, Sharma’s brand of comedy could play an important role. Strengthening the weekends for the channel, the crucial part would be to have a spillover effect on the other days as well when Sony’s new shows do battle in the prime hours of television viewing.

NP-Singh_CEO_INSIDE01

Singh expects the Kapil Sharma comedy show to play a big role in the turnaround plan for the channel. “SET has traditionally been strong on the weekends. Sharma and his team are helming a weekend comedy show for the channel. We expect them to get in big audiences,” Singh said.

Singh will also take comfort from the fact that Sony’s earlier comedy show, ‘Comedy Circus’, was a hit. “Sony took a break from the comedy genre. There is no better way than returning to the genre with Kapil,” said Singh.

Sharma was earlier part of Colors’ popular show ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’, which is now off-air. Sharma and Colors parted ways following commercial dispute. Since then, Colors has replaced Sharma’s show with a new show titled ‘Comedy Nights Live’.

Sony TV annunces Kapil Sharma's new show


So, how was the name of the show coined? “People used to ask when the Kapil Sharma show is coming. So we decided to keep the name of the show simple. We called it ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’,” said Singh.

Launching on 23 April, ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ will air in the weekends at 9 pm. That is also the time when some of SPN’s other channels would be airing the Indian Premier League (IPL). The popular T20 league would be used to promote ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’.

So why is it right for SET to bet on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’? For starters, comedy being a universal genre appeals to the entire family. It also allows a GEC to offer variety programming on weekends when families tend to watch TV together.

‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ is expected to play the role of a reach-builder for the channel every week. On the strength of the show, the channel will drive its other fiction properties through interesting cross-pollination at the character level.

Danish Khan“Comedy is a genre which is consumed by the family and India is typically a single-TV home. The thought is to get a programme that you can watch with the whole family. It’s a great reach-builder every week. It will help us cross-pollinate in other genres and help us build our fiction portfolio. Similarly, fiction viewers will be funnelled to Kapil’s show,” said SET business head Danish Khan.

The show will also have repeat value. “We expect the repeat shows also to get in audiences. Comedy, like dance and singing shows, has great repeat value,” said Khan.

Khan is confident that the show with a top-class comedian like Sharma in the weekend prime-time slot is a sure recipe for success. He also noted that comedy has always been SET’s strength and that it will only play to its full strength with this show.

“At 9 pm, ‘Comedy Circus’ was always there on Sony. We always wanted a comedy in the 9–10 pm slot. It just happened that Kapil and his team were available, and we spoke to him. Kapil had worked with Sony, and he had a great experience working with us and then it was matter of closing the thing. We closed with Kapil a long time back. We took time to announce the show because we were focusing on the creative and wanted to ensure a fresh experience for the viewer,” he stated.

The new show will be vastly different from its Colors version even though the team remains the same. The characters of the show, for instance, cannot be the same due to copyright issues. “It is a new show with a new experience,” Khan said.

Sony will launch a spate of new shows in the coming days to further enhance the variety factor. The new shows will be in the classical soap, family drama and episodic thriller genres.

“Next week, we are launching shows in the 7–8 pm band, the announcement for which will be made next week. Following the IPL, we will have an 8 pm show. By June–July, we will have a variety of shows that will feed each other in terms of audience,” Khan said.

With the gamut of weekday and weekend shows, the idea is to cover most of the emotions. “During good days of Sony, one of the key drivers was variety. We had love stories, drama, crime thrillers, reality shows, and comedy. Today when we are reconstructing the programming line-up for Sony, the clear direction is to create variety to own up slots in each genre,” he noted.

Rohit Gupta

Produced by K9 and Frames Production, ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ will kick off from the on ground event in Delhi. Before the premiere of the show, fans will get a chance to interact with their favourite stars in their own city as they kick-start an entertaining journey with a multi-city tour. Starting at Amritsar on 5 March, Sharma and gang will move to Bhopal (11 March), Lucknow (16 March) and Delhi (first week of April).

Sony has already roped in Lava Mobiles as the title sponsor for the show. “This is going to be a high impact property. We are in negotiations with other advertisers,” said Sony Pictures Networks India president Rohit Gupta.