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STAR gets its act together for SRK-KBC premiere; Paul Aiello strives hard to keep herd together

23-January-2007
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STAR gets its act together for SRK-KBC premiere; Paul Aiello strives hard to keep herd together

STAR India may technically not have a top management right now, but KBC was back on TV screens on January 22 with all the grandeur that a show of its stature is expected to have. Meanwhile, Paul Aiello, STAR CEO-designate, is arriving in India on January 23 to take stock of the situation following the resignations of Peter Mukerjea and Sameer Nair and stem possible further departures.

The third season of KBC brings a more continual dose of Shah Rukh Khan back to the small screen again, and at least on day one, SRK gave viewers some fun to look forward to. The inevitable comparison between Amitabh Bachchan and SRK was there and news channels went berserk conducting polls to find which of the two KBC hosts were better. While the public is still divided over whether SRK would work as the KBC host or not, another week, and we shall surely have an answer to that.

While there is still time to see how this translates to ratings, STAR India made a moment of KBC launch where Sameer Nair hosted a party for all STAR employees and King Khan was one of the guests. This might well be the last party that Nair throws as STAR CEO.

One can’t ignore the fact that Nair would soon be working closely with Karan Johar, who is an SRK partner, and at least we know this is not the last time SRK and Nair would be working together. Peter Mukerjea was conspicuous by his absence at the party.

Meanwhile, STAR professionals are definitely looking forward to meeting Aiello, who is coming to India to discuss about the media group’s plans and strategies here. This is some relief given that STAR employees probably have got more information about what is happening in their organisation from the media than they have from within.

Aiello has meetings lined up with STAR staff throughout the day, which includes two in the Mumbai suburbs beginning with programming and three at the corporate office – in effect speaking to all departments separately. The agenda of the meetings is to address employee concerns and the way forward. Interestingly, old HR hand, Sonali Thakkar, is also back in STAR offices, but not much is known about what she is working on.

It remains to be seen whether Aiello will only hear concerns or share concrete plans of the way forward for STAR, including the announcement of Vijay Singh coming to STAR India offices and the role that he would play. It remains to be seen whether anything on the restructuring would be discussed with the employees and whether STAR would maintain the divided STAR Group and STAR Entertainment structure or go back to the earlier model. Also see: STAR decides to lose its golden boys: Peter and Sameer plan separate ventures in entertainment genre http://www.exchange4media.com/e4m/news/newfullstory.asp?section_id=6&news_id=24482&tag=19209&pict=4

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