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9X to resume fresh programming with paranormal show, Black

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | February 27, 2009
The other shows on the channel will be replaced in phases

General entertainment channel (GEC) 9X prepares to resume fresh programming by launching a new show called Black on March 2. For the past four months, the channel was surviving on re-runs of its old shows in the absence of any fresh programming.

It is learnt that 9X will roll out the new shows in phases. The first show to be aired will be Sunil Agnihotri's paranormal horror offering, Black. Agnihotri, director-producer, Sunil Agnihotri Productions, says, "Black is an emotional story of a boy with paranormal experiences. The daily show will be aired at 10 pm from Monday to Thursday. I will do another show for the channel, called Betaal Pachissi, which will go on air around March 19."

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Agnihotri shrugs off the suggestion that his show may go unnoticed in the absence of supporting fresh content on the channel. He reasons, "Colors has changed the game for GECs. Long gone are the days when the audience was faithful to a particular channel. Today, viewers are smart and they follow their favourite shows rather than a channel." Sunil Agnihotri has produced popular shows such as Chandrakanta and Chandramukhi on other GECs.

For the record, the strike between the Federation of Western Cine Employees (FWICE) and the producers' association had initially led to disruption in new content on all the GECs, including 9X, in November. While all the GECs resumed fresh programming following the agreement between the disputing parties in December, 9X decided not to get back on track with new content and relook at its content strategy.

In earlier conversations with afaqs!, a senior executive at 9X had said that the channel would continue to air reruns in order to take advantage of the forced gap in content generation. The channel heads felt that it was an apt opportunity to relook at the channel's programming strategy and allow it to win back its audience with a new programming line-up.

9X's fight for the viewership in the 10 pm slot appears far from easy, given that the slot on other GECs such as STAR Plus, Colors, Zee and NDTV Imagine is dominated by family oriented daily soaps. In the same slot, Colors airs Uttaran, the story of an orphan girl and her struggle for the good things in life, while NDTV Imagine airs Bandini, the serial depicting the journey of a small town girl as a young bride in a rich, urban household.

In the past few months, 9X has engaged viewers with filler shows such as Mauja Hi Mauja and a music segment called Chandni Raatein. In the absence of fresh content, the channel plans to air movies such as Om Shanti Om, Sunday, Welcome and Hey Babby in March.

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