There is quite a lot brewing in Zee TV’s programming kitty currently. Beginning with the new look that the 8 to 9 pm band currently donned, the channel is all set to present its own big-ticket format show, ‘India’s Best Cine Stars Ki Khoj’. The 9 to 11 pm slot will also see changes in May.
“We have to get pro-active in our programming to gain the ground that we have lost in the past three years,” expresses Sunil Khanna, President, Zee TV, “We have already uplifted the 8 to 9 pm band. And now we are ready to present a format show, which in sheer scale of operations is far bigger and different than anything announced so far.”
Khanna is referring to ‘India’s Best’, a talent-hunt looking for two stars to feature in two movies that Zee Telefilms is producing. Khanna says: “We are not going to make movies with these stars only. We have signed up names like Salman Khan, Sunny Deol and Priety Zinta who will star in these movies and our finds will also play lead roles.”
After Sahara and STAR, Zee would be the third channel to launch a talent hunt. How different can it possible be from what has been already announced? Khanna responds: “On various counts. First, our short-listing processes will not be based on just applications. We are taking our activities across to 20 cities, unlike channels that will see ground action in six or eight cities. Also, we are not limiting ourselves to India. The event will be carried on an international scale, where people in countries like the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Middle East and Singapore can also participate.”
Khanna informs that the event is planned at various stages. Each city will see a two to three day on-ground activity in the first round, which will simmer down to 50 contestants per city. In the next round, the number will finally come down to four, two males and two females from each city and the other countries. These would then be brought to Mumbai and in another round of judging a final shortlist of 32 will come in place. While all these activities would be aired, Khanna elucidates that the best point of the event would be in the form of a ‘unique’ talent show where the final 32 would compete.
“There will be 15 rounds based on various parameters like style, acting skills, diction etc. Four participants will go in each round, of which two would be taken forward and subsequently, we will reach the final two,” says Khanna.
While the on-air promotions were released last evening, the event will roll out on May 18, 2004. By June 1, the events in different cities will culminate and by mid-June, the list of 32 people will be ready. In effect, the talent show will go on air by mid-July. Khanna informs that two screen celebrities will be roped in to host the event.
About how is this hunt is unique, he says: “Right from the platform where we are different in our way of short listing is of the fact that these stars will cast with other established actors. Plus, what we are banking on more is the TV property that will result from this. The talent show itself will be a pull for the channel. Not to mention the boost it will give in terms of on-ground visibility.”
Apart from the 8 to 9 pm, changed with ‘Hum Sab Baraati’ and ‘Lavanya’, the channel is taking ‘Tum Bin’ in the fast forward mode, bringing the programme back to its original premise. Two new programmes are scheduled to be on the channel by May-end, replacing two in the current line-up, details of which, as Khanna believes are premature to discuss.
“We won’t pull any programme more than its logical life. What we are trying to bring back to the channel is our original objective of inducing programming which is progressive in nature, whether it is like an ‘Astitva’ or a ‘Lavanya’. We have brought innovative formats to Indian television and that is what we are concentrating on doing again. On the whole, we are looking at how to give more value addition to our consumers and clients.”