Star Plus is going through one of its most challenging times, with the gap between the channel and its core competitor Zee TV reducing to single digit GRPs. Keertan Adyanthaya, EVP and GM, Star Plus stated that a leader, by any margin, was a leader, and from that point of view, Star Plus was still the clear kingpin in the genre. That said, however, the channel has a host of new shows in the days to come, one of which would replace the seven-year long series ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’.
Another soon-to-be-launched series is ‘Paanchvi Paas’, the Indian version of the international format ‘Fifth Grader’. Then there is the epic ‘Mahabharata’. Just a week back, Star officials had vehemently denied any plans on housing this epic, which would be produced by Bobby Bedi and directed by Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi, but it appears that they, too, are ‘booking their Gods’.
Star Plus is yet to announce any time slots for both these shows. However, it is learnt that the channel had almost decided on April 18, 2008 as the launch date for ‘Paanchvi Paas’, which suggests that the channel was looking at a weekend slot for the show. However, now the channel is contemplating to push this deadline further since it would directly clash with the Indian Premiere League (IPL) matches. Star officials didn’t offer any comments on this and said, “We are still deciding on when to bring on these shows – but they would be on air between April and May 2008.”
Another major change for the channel is in its 8.30 pm slot. After almost seven years, the channel has decided to wrap up Balaji’s ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’. The new show in the slot is again a Balaji production, ‘Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil’, which premieres on March 3, 2008. For the last seven years, ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’ has been one of the highest delivering shows for Star Plus and contributed heavily to the overall GRPs of the channel. However, of late, the show had really lost numbers and fallen from the top show slots that it used to once hold.
The other two long-runners on the channel – ‘Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ and ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii’ still contribute to the channel’s performance.
The marketing for ‘Kis Desh Mein…’ and ‘Paanchvi Paas’ is already underway on a large scale, marketing activities for ‘Mahabharata’s commenced on February 26, 2008. When asked on how the channel would be deciding the slots to place these shows, Keertan said, “That completely depends on what our schedule looks like at the time we want to launch these shows. We aren’t worried what other channels are doing, and that definitely is not going to play any role on where our shows should be. We would take a decision on the slots in due course.”
Keertan added that some of the other new shows that were already doing well for the channel included ‘Bidaai’. He further said that the channel was continuously innovating and evolving storylines to maintain the freshness in the current shows line-up, and more in this direction would be seen in times to come.
‘Mahabharata’ would be a challenge for Star for various reasons, one of them being that Ekta Kapoor, too, is in the process of making ‘Mahabharat’ for 9X. While Star Plus’ ‘Mahabharata’ would comprise new faces, 9X’s ‘Mahabharat’ would see leading Balaji stars in various roles. It is also expected that 9X’s ‘Mahabharat’ would launch before Star Plus’. And of course, viewers already have a daily mythology dose in ‘Ramayan’ on NDTV Imagine. ‘Ramayan’ has done wonders for NDTV Imagine, but it remains to be seen whether ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Mahabharat’ would do the same for Star Plus and 9X, respectively.