Mumbai's rumour mill has been working overtime since the time Zee's new group broadcasting CEO Sandeep Goyal flagged off a complete overhaul of the programming and marketing processes at Zee earlier this year. With very little in terms of new programming initiative and a lackadaisical response to much-touted shows like Jeeto Chappar Phaad Ke, there was talk of an impending shakeout at the No 2 television network in India. Now it's final.
Rekha Nigam, senior vice-president, programming and production, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), has quit. She put in her papers Friday (October 5) morning, confirmed Rajesh Pant, COO, SET. Her destination is not known. Pant said she might be getting into movie making or writing of film scripts - something, he said, she had always wanted to do. He also warned not to read too much into the incident; "there is no big story in this," he cautioned.
agencyfaqs! sources in a rival television channels, however, had a different story to tell. A senior marketing executive in a competitive network said there was a board-level meeting on Thursday at SET headquarters in Mumbai's Andheri suburbs. "Senior guys from the Los Angeles office (Sony headquarters) were here to attend a day-long meeting." So was the meeting held to work on a contingency plan to tackle Rekha's departure? "More likely, her resignation was a fallout of that meeting yesterday," he said.
He added the SET management is apparently unhappy because of the fact that the channel is just not seen as "happening" anymore. "Just look around and it will be clear why. Zee is doing a hell of a lot these days and STAR has been doing something or the other for the last-year-and-a-half," he said.
There are also reports that seven other senior executives plan to follow Nigam's footsteps. When quizzed on this, Pant dismissed this as "absolutely baseless". Another interesting conjecture doing its rounds is whether Ravina Raj Kohli, who had quit SET last year to join Nine Gold as CEO, is planning to come back to SET. "This has been in the air for about six months now. But if she actually decides to return, the bigger question will be in what capacity? She would definitely not be filling in Rekha's shoes," he said. "She is way too senior for that." Pant too was quite emphatic in his dismissal when asked about Ravina. "There is no question of her coming back. There never was," he said.
What is certain however is that, for the time being, Nachiket Pantvaidya, vice-president, programming, and Anupama Mandloi, director, programming, will be holding fort till a final decision is made on who will replace Nigam. It is also said a senior executive from the Los Angeles headquarters will come down to India to check on things very soon.
© agencyfaqs! 2001