SAB TV took a bold step when it positioned itself as a comedy channel. And in terms of delivering content, the recent Apsara awards indicate that comedy has worked for the channel in gaining critical acclaim. The channel has planned seven new shows, with the first one going on air on May 31. Positioned as a humour channel, the new line-up constitutes four comedy shows and three chat shows.
Reflecting on the three awards the channel won for its show 'Office Office', Kanta Advani, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, SAB TV, exclaimed: "Elated! The immediate reaction was that we are very happy but when you really look at it, it had to happen. We are a comedy channel and this is our core competence."
On the forthcoming line-up, she said, "Our mainstay target is SEC AB 25 + and we are providing them a mix of current affairs and humour. The line-up keeps that in mind."
"The aim is not just to be the channel that makes people laugh but also one that arouses information and debates through our current affairs slot," she said.
Advani informed that the channel would maintain the current affairs slot until SAB's current affairs channel is in place. After that, the channel will be completely dedicated to comedy. "Even now, the traditional primetime for us is comedy," she informed.
Looking at the comedy line up that is planned, 'Jasoos 005', a detective comedy, is the first to hit the tube. The half-hour daily went on air on May 31, 2004 in the 8.30 pm slot. Replacing 'Brahmachari', this show is a mix of mysterious as well as comical situations.
Following this, June 4 would see the release of 'Chuupke Chuupke' in the 9.00 pm slot, which too is a daily sitcom. Directed by Rajan Waghdhare, the show replaces 'Dhaba Junction'. The storyline is around the comical situations in the life of a non-vegetarian Punjabi family and a vegetarian Maharashtrian family. 'Hamse Hai Zamanaa' comes in the 10.00 pm slot from June 11, 2004. This too is a 30-minute sitcom revolving around the lives of young men and women of today, showing their success, failures and their triumphant ways to take a lighter look at life. This show comes in the place of 'Public Hai Jo Sab Janti Hai'.
The fourth show is in the stripped format, that is Monday to Thursday, coming in the 7.00 pm band, beginning from June 31, 2004. 'Wah Wah', coming in place of 'Kabhi Ye Kabhi Woh', is in the form of a Hasya Kavi Sammelan, wherein Hindi poets get together and recite humourous poems.
The first show to hit the screen from the chat show list is the half-hour weekly 'Watchdog', to be launched on June 1, 2004 in the 10.30 pm slot. Hosted by Umesh Upadhyay, the show substitutes 'Court Martial'. Where this show is about scams, scandals and crimes, 'Zimmedar Kaun' beginning June 9 in the 11.00 band is on social issues, hosted by Manprit Brar. Following this on June 10, again in the 11.00 pm slot is 'Waqt Hamara Hai', which is on youth-related issues. The latter shows are one-hour weeklies.
"We have placed ourselves distinctly as a humour and current affairs channel," stated Advani, "We strongly believe in this kind of content and it gives us the differential positioning in the current properties available on Indian television. Even if we look at it in terms of numbers, the nature of our content doesn't compete with the mass channels and with the numbers coming in, comedy for us is paying off."
Apart from the new properties, there are other changes as well in the current affairs band. SAB TV's popular current affairs programmes 'Faces & Names' hosted by Vir Sanghvi, 'Khuch Khaas Baatein' by Swati Chaturvedi, 'Jan Sansad' by Harish Gupta and 'Khulla Manch' by Manoj Raghuvanshi are making a comeback in the original evening band at 10.30 pm. 'Sab Views', an analysis of the current political scenario by various journalists will continue on the weekends.