COVID-19 programming: What’s On Air

With production of content for TV on hold, we look at what some of the channels in the Hindi GEC space have in store for the viewers till normalcy returns

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 28, 2020 10:47 AM

With the country in a state of total lockdown on account of the COVID-19 outbreak till April 14, GEC channels will no longer be able to air fresh content.

The shooting of TV serials and web series was put on halt from March 19 to March 31 but it will remain suspended till mid-April. GECs usually have a bank for about a fortnight for daily shows and in the case of weekly shows channels have a bank of one to two episodes.

However, the extended lockdown has meant that the channels will exhaust the bank of its scheduled shows. It must also be noted that once things normalise, it will take three days to a week for production houses and channels to get the content on air.

In this scenario, we look at what some of the channels in the Hindi GEC space have in store for the viewers till normalcy returns.

Zee TV: Banking on Original Content
Zee TV, the flagship channel of ZEEL, is introducing a 9 to 11 pm band with three new finite series shows - ‘Karle Tu Bhi Mohabbat’, ‘Baarish’ and ‘Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain’ - for the first time on television. All three shows are web series that were made originally for the OTT platform and streams on ZEE5.

Apart from these shows, ZEE is also airing popular shows, currently on air, Kumkum Bhagya and Kundali Bhagya, from 7pm to 8pm and 8pm to 9pm respectively, on weekdays. The channel is also delving into its library content and will air hit shows like ‘Kasam Se’ and ‘Brahmarakshas’ from 2pm to 3pm and 5pm to 6pm respectively. On the weekends, the channel will telecast Bollywood Award show - Zee Cine Awards (which will also air on Zee Cinema), Zee and a special episode of the singing reality show ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs’.

Prathyusha Agarwal, Chief Consumer Officer, ZEEL says: “As the leading media & entertainment network it is our responsibility to keep our consumers positively engaged, entertained and well informed, helping them sail through these tough times. The narratives (of the finite series) speak of the power of love and the role it plays in conquering challenging times. Our exciting weekend offering witnesses higher stickiness amongst families and has a higher affinity among the male audiences. Longer binge-worthy episodes of our popular fiction shows have been lined up across to provide an immersive experience to our viewers who are staying much longer in front of the television.”

“Viewers need not worry as we are ensuring there are plenty of entertainment options and exclusive original content to choose from on the channel in the lockdown period,” she added.

Star Plus: Movies, Science Fiction & More
During the lockdown period, Star Plus has on offer a host of shows. The channel launched on March 23 ‘Maharaj Ki Jai Ho’, a science-fiction comedy set against a mythological backdrop. It will air new episodes of this show, which airs at 9pm, as it has a bank of 50 episodes.

It must be noted that Star Plus was supposed to launch a new show, Anupamaa, on March 16 but the premiere was postponed after the shoots were suspended and there are not enough episodes in the bank. Also making its debut on the small screen is the crime thriller webseries, Hotstar Specials’ Hostages. Star Plus will also have World Television Premieres of latest movies.

Colors: Primtime - Status Quo
Currently with a bank of at least 10 episodes, Colors will continue telecasting original drama shows as part of its current fiction line-up starting with Vidya at 7pm, followed by Choti Sarrdaarni, Shakti…Astitva Ke Ehsaas Kii, Barrister Babu, Shubharambh and Naati Pinky Ki Lambi Love Story.

At 10pm, Colors brings back its blockbuster season of Bigg Boss 13. The channel brings back its popular shows from the past returning with a dedicated block for comedy and romance with Belan Wali Bahu and Bhaag Bakool Bhaag airing from 5-6 pm, followed by Dil Se Dil Tak at 6pm.

Star Bharat: Comedy, Mythology and Crime
Star Bharat, whose vision is to cater to the heartland, is looking to bring cheer to its viewers by curating the best of the comedy shows from the Star Network. The channel plans to air one-hour comedy specials on primetime. While Star Bharat still has to decide on the shows to be aired, looking at the network’s extensive library catalogue, viewers could see shows like Kya Haal, Mr. Paanchal?, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and Khichdi.

The channel will also be editing and airing special episodes of the popular mythological show RadhaKrishn that showcases the biggest moments in the life of Lord Krishna. Also on primetime will be the crime show Savdhaan India – India Fights Back which will have original content as there is a bank of episodes till the end of the lockdown period, April 14.

&TV: Comedy & Biography
Vishnu Shankar, Business Head, &TV says, “At &TV, we are committed to keeping our viewers entertained, especially during this time. From stomach-clutching comedy to inspirational stories to devotional kathas, there will be something for everyone. Not to forget the exciting, heart-thumping weekend line-up of fantasy-horror and thrillers. We have a reasonable bank of episodes in place, which along with the specials we are creating, will ensure our fans have access to non-stop entertainment.”

From its stable of cult comedy shows, Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai, Happu Ki Ultan Paltan and Gudiya Humari Sabhi Pe Bhaari, &TV brings one-hour specials of these offerings - ‘Double Dhamaka’ (Happu Ki Ultan Paltan), ‘Gajab Kisse’ (Gudiya Humari Sabhi Pe Bhari) and Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai Poore Ek Ghante.

The channel is also starting Sangharsh Ki Kahaniya specials for 'Ek Mahanayak – Dr. B.R. Ambedkar'. On the weekends, the channel will showcase exciting and original episodes of the edge-of-the-seat thriller ‘Raat Ka Khel Sara’ and spine-chilling Fantasy-Horror ‘Laal Ishq’.

“We are determined to ensure our shows act as the primary glue to hold families together during this period of social distancing,” Shankar added.

Dangal: Showcasing Best of the Best of Dangal
According to Arpit Machhar, Head of Marketing, Enterr10 Television Network, “Dangal TV can boast of an extensive content library across all channels within the network. We will strategically start playing out content from this library once we exhaust our fresh content line up.” Looking ahead, on how things will pan out post April 14, he says, “In an ideal situation, once shoot resumes and everything normalises, we should be able to start showing fresh content with 5-7 days.”

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