There is an unwritten rule in tellydom: Never take on STAR Plus in the slots it does best.
On weekdays, this primarily translates into the late prime time band of 10-11 pm, when STAR's top-performing shows - Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (10.30 pm) and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki (10.00 pm) are telecast.
Other slots such as the one at 8.30 pm - the telecast time of Kasautii Zindagi Kay - are also hot, but nothing can beat STAR in late prime time, not even Sony's differentiated offerings of Yeri Meri Life Hai, which is targeted at the youth and the women-centric, crime show Rihaee. ZEE has a lighter, male-centric show Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa playing at 10 pm, while 10.30 pm is when the re-run of Sarhadein happens.
Clearly, late prime time is out of reach for STAR's rivals, so what they are going after is early prime time. At least, that's what ZEE TV is doing at the moment.
The channel has been beefing up the 7-9 pm band with new shows such as Sindoor Tere Naam Ka, which was launched in the 7.30 pm slot last month, and Sarrkkar - Rishton Ki Ankahi Kahani, which will be launched on April 25 in the 8.30 pm time band.
The aim, as indicated by Ashvini Yardi, head of programming, ZEE TV, is to consolidate the 7-9 pm band. "We have been redefining time bands, and putting Sindoor in the 7.30 pm slot was a strategic move," she says.
Apart from Sindoor, which achieved a rating of 1.84 in week 14 (March 27-April 2) - one of the best periods for ZEE - what has also bolstered the prospects of the channel in this band is the 8 pm show Tumhari Disha, which clocked a rating of 2.13 in week 14.
The show, says Yardi, has been doing well for the channel, and efforts will be on to sustain viewer interest in the serial. Tumhari Disha, for the uninitiated, revolves around the protagonist Disha (played by newcomer Chhavi Mittal) and her trails and tribulations including her marriage to Dushyant Kumar Sehgal or DK - a man whom she despises. It is this angle that is most popular with viewers, and like most other family dramas on Indian television today, the show is peopled with a number of other characters too.
The next one that ZEE is pinning its hopes on is Sarrkkhar - a political saga - that bears an uncanny resemblance to the lives of the Gandhis, namely, Indira Gandhi and her two sons Rajiv and Sanjay. Written by socialite and columnist Shobha De, the story is about a woman named Priyamvada, who is the mother of three children (two sons and a daughter) and the chief minister of a fictional state Vishal Pradesh. The story maps her journey through life and the struggles she experiences as mother and politician. Giving her company are two daughters-in-law, - one, who is her favourite (you guessed it right, the older one) and one, who is not.
Brothers Ronit and Rohit Roy - both familiar faces on television - make their debut as siblings on the show - and this is one aspect that the channel is playing up apart from the performances, characters et al. © 2005 agencyfaqs!