The producers versus Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) battle continues unabated. There are broadcasters who are still hoping for the best before November 9, that the disagreements between the producers and the Federation would be resolved leading to smooth shooting schedules and content supply again. However, everyone is preparing for the worst. All channels have already directed their programming teams to be geared for an all-repeat programming beginning November 10.
The producers and FWICE members met on November 6 and would be meeting again on November 7 in an attempt to arrive at some decision on the issue.
Albert Almeida, Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television, said, “The producers and FWICE have met today (November 6), but there is no resolution to the current impasse. However, we are hopeful that they would come to some decision over the weekend. In the meanwhile, the channels have instructed their content teams to air repeated beginning November 10, 2008.”
The channels are all prepared to take the situation head-on. And if there was any further instance needed for them to show that they are truly united on this front, it was seen in their decision to allow Colors to air fresh episodes of ‘Bigg Boss’. A source familiar with the situation said, “Colors has done what it could do too. It would be cutting the show down by a week and ending it on November 22, 2008, so that the situation can be fair for everyone. ‘Bigg Boss’ needed this, since it is a reality show and the housemates cannot be locked in the house for as long as this strike would be on.”
Another said that the exception was ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ on Star Plus given the legal battle over the show between Balaji and Star Plus that needed the show to get over. However, industry sources have informed that November 6, 2008 was the last day of the show and that clears it much before the curfew time that the channels have decided on. This, however, doesn’t take away from the speculation surrounding ‘Kyunki...’ that the show is not about to end just yet, and that there is a possibility that the show may be revived on another channel – the speculated name is 9X. Needless to say, there is nothing official that anyone is saying on this just yet.
The situation has created some amount of hullabaloo in the industry already. There are speculations on the economic slowdown creating more than the kind of problems that we are seeing at present in the Indian Hindi GEC sector. At least in broadcasting, the GEC bubble seems to be under the threat of bursting.