After tasting success with action dramas such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) and The Agency, AXN, the action-adventure channel is ready for more. A new show titled Alias will premiere on September 2, 2002 at 8.00 pm, setting the pace for programmes such as VIP (Tuesdays), Beastmaster (Wednesdays), Sheena (Thursdays) and Seven Days (Fridays) to be aired at the same time during the week and through the month.
Alias, featuring Golden Globe award winner Jennifer Garner (she won the trophy for best actress in a TV drama series at this year's Golden Globes), revolves around 26-year old Sydney Bristow (played by Garner) who, besides attending graduate college, also moonlights as a double agent for the CIA and her agency, SD-6.
Incidentally, the show has been a super-duper hit in the US, smashing records and being nominated for eleven Emmy and three Golden Globe Awards this year. However, to the question of whether Alias will click with Indian audiences, Gregory Ho, vice-president, marketing, AXN Asia, has a guarded response, "It would take time to pick up but I do see the show doing well in India."
With slick production values, Alias aims to provide a glimpse of the lives of people who "live and work clandestinely to ensure the safety and security of the Unites States and its allies". It also is one among three shows to be accorded unrestricted access to the CIA and its resources (the first show ever to be filmed inside the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters was another AXN show, Agency).
Interestingly, AXN has taken a calculated risk by choosing to unveil the show in India ahead of launching it in more 'cosmopolitan' - as the company chooses to describe it -markets in the region, next year. When quizzed about the rationale behind this decision, Ho has this explanation to offer, "India is the fastest growing market for us. People here have taken us to heart when it really meant nothing to them."
Of course, Ho's optimism is not without reason. Despite being pay-to-view with a distinct male skew, AXN reaches 21.6 million homes across India with a female viewership of 42 per cent. Its prime draw continues to be reality-based shows such as Fear Factor and Who Dares Wins, all aired during the time span of 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm. In fact, this slot has been branded as the X Zone with Fear Factor (Mondays), Without Warning (Tuesdays), Guinness World Records: Primetime (Wednesdays), Courage (Thursdays) and Who Dares Wins (Fridays), appearing through the week in this slot. Alias debuts in the slot branded Prime Zone (8.00 pm to 9.00 p.m.) consisting of action dramas and designed to be a precursor to the X Zone. To complete the evening, there are action movies on Mondays and Tuesdays, repeats of Alias on Wednesdays, Thursday Horror and Friday Premieres at 10.00 pm.
Commenting on this programming mix comprising action dramas, reality TV and movies, Ho says, "We are pretty strong in the 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm and 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm slots, and we need to capitalise on it. These three elements are the main pillars behind our programming mix with the fourth one being lifestyle sports such as Eco Challenge, which garners quite a sizeable viewership for us when it is aired once a year. Don't forget that our focus is the SEC A and B viewer and we will continue concentrating on it."
So even as the programming and marketing team at AXN continue to keep their focus intact with more shows in the pipeline (16 shows were launched at the start of this year), the fate of Alias will be decided by the viewers in the next few weeks. © 2002 agencyfaqs!