There could be nothing bigger or better than ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ to drive STAR Plus’ efforts to strengthen its weekend slots. With ‘KBC 2’s culmination, the big question was what next. And STAR Plus has finally found an answer. As STAR officials put it, they couldn’t have found a better hero to replace Amitabh Bachchan than a national hero from another age – ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’. The new series is all set to hit Indian screens in mid-May 2006. Launching subsequently in the weekend slot is ‘Ek Chaabi Pados Mein’.
‘Prithviraj Chauhan’ comes in the Friday to Sunday 9.00 pm slot, while ‘Ek Chaabi Pados Mein’ will air on Friday to Sunday at the 10.00 pm slot. With this, ‘Sai Baba’ and ‘Jodee Kamaal Ki’, which are currently placed in these slots, will move to 8.00 pm and 8.30 pm, respectively. The promos for the new shows began on the STAR Network from April 6.
Shailja Kejriwal, Senior Creative Director, STAR India, is excited about the new shows. Speaking about ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’, she said, “No show could be big enough to replace ‘KBC’, but some show had to. And in Prithviraj Chauhan, we think one hero is aptly replaced by another.”
Kejriwal further said that as with many other present initiatives on the channel, this too was an experiment that the channel was hoping would play its part in getting larger and newer eyeballs to the channel. “The subject itself is a new one. You can’t really predict or even have any expectations based on previous examples. But we have worked very hard to ensure that the show is on the lines of the kind of the content that weekend audiences would like and we hope it delivers,” she said.
Meanwhile, unlike, ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’, which is a heavy drama series, ‘Ek Chaabi Pados Mein’ is a lighter show. As Kejriwal puts it, it is a feel good show, which shows the interpersonal relationships of people living in an ideal neighbourhood. Both shows are designed to target the family audience.
For the channel, both ‘Sai Baba’ and ‘Jodee Kamaal Ki’ have delivered numbers. So would there by any change in numbers for these two programmes, with the change in timings? Kejriwal admitted that for ‘Sai Baba’, “there could be a dip in numbers because the 8.00 pm doesn’t have the kind of audiences that a 9.00 pm brings. Nonetheless, when we launched ‘Sai Baba’, it was on the 8.00 pm slot and even then it had thrown very good numbers. So really, there shouldn’t be much change.”
STAR weekends had not really lost its share even when ‘KBC 2’ went off-air given the number of events and other initiatives that the channel stacked on the slots, which delivered some good numbers for the channel. However, the channel also didn’t see any steady property building the weekend block further. Kejriwal is confident that the new initiatives would play their part in achieving this.