Bhalwankar will join the Multi Screen Media flagship channel on April 7. He will provide creative leadership and direction for the channel, and lead the programming and OAP (on-air-promotions) teams.
With this appointment, MSM further strengthens the programming team of SET. It had recently appointed Star Plus' former general manager Nachiket Pantvaidya as senior executive vice-president and business head of SET.
Pantvaidya says, "Ajay is an extremely experienced individual with a rich experience of over 20 years in journalism and television, spanning various roles of creating, writing, programming, producing and directing entertainment content. Under Ajay's leadership I am confident that we will make the right strides towards our vision of best-in-class content for SET."
Bhalwankar adds, "I'm delighted to join SET again and hope to provide valuable programming inputs across content on the channel. It is an extremely challenging role and I am looking forward to this exciting journey."
With a background in journalism, Bhalwankar had joined the Zee Group in 1994 as assistant director of Dream Merchants, the company's advertising and marketing magazine.
He was instrumental in launching Music Asia, which later became Zee Muzic, and is now called Zing. He spent three years there and subsequently, as group head, worked towards the launch of Zee Marathi in 1999. He later became business head, Zee Marathi, and vice-president, Zee Marathi and Zee Talkies. He took charge as the programming head of Zee in 2008.
In 2009, he joined Sony as its programming head but came back to Zee TV within a short span of eight months.
To replace Bhalwankar, Zee TV has roped in Namit Sharma, who has joined the channel from Wizcraft, where he was heading the television business.