Raj TV, a Tamil entertainment channel, is gearing up for its new look due in May 2005. And as promised, the makeover seems to go beyond looks, given the changes the channel is ringing in. It has now announced the launch of a current affairs-based show in its erstwhile news time-slot, and has pulled off a coup by roping in V Chandrasekaar, Chief of Operations of production house Min Bimbangal as Executive Vice-President - Programming & Production.
Bimbangal, the new show, which goes on air from April 25, will be a half hour show, in the 07:30 pm slot, Monday to Saturday. The show will attempt to capture the 'Socio Economic Factors, Historical Importance and Cultural Developments' of each constituency in Tamil Nadu, and will be hosted by familiar news-faces from Sun and DD, Nirmala Periasamy and Nirmala Raman.
According to B Shankar, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Raj TV, the attempt through the show will not be to criticise and demean one set of politicians through the words of the rest, but to present the people's side honestly and with a view to realising solutions. "It will not be a platform for people from opposite parties to criticise each other. The show will communicate the problems without being mindlessly or personally critical."
Raj TV's news went off air on November 18, 2004, following licence issues. The time slot of 7.30 to 8.00, was till now occupied by film-based programming. The channel claims that feedback from disappointed viewers who bemoaned that they missed news led to this attempt to offer programming in the current-affairs space. If Industry pundits' predictions - that the channel's news bulletins will return soon - come true, the channel proposes to shift the new show to another time-slot, giving way for news bulletins in its original slot.
In another development, the channel has announced the appointment of V Chandrasekaar as its Executive Vice-President. He had been associated with Min Bimbangal even since its inception, 14 years ago. Chandrasekaar told exchange4media, "We are looking at doing things differently. When we say differently, we are talking about increasing the production values on existing shows and getting on air new shows with good production values. We are even conceptualizing game shows, which will be completely new to Tamil television audiences."
He went on to add that the channel would even look at ideas like films being produced exclusively for the small screen, and said that the changes in programming would happen over the next three to six months. On whether the changes would mean a shift from the successful 'soap' culture, he said, "Soaps will continue to be there. There will be other time slots created to generate revenue slots. We are not even ruling out dubbed versions of existing successful soaps from other languages."