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ZEE English looks beyond comedy and action

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 15, 2003
The English language channel from the ZEE stable is looking at genres besides comedy and action, which dominate the channel


ZEE English is keen to bring in greater variety into its programming by exploring genres apart from comedy and action, which dominate its line-up. According to Ashvini Yardi, business head, ZEE English and MGM, the channel is looking at different genres including thrillers and reality-based shows. "The channel is growing, and we would ideally like to appeal to different audiences," she says.

Currently, the channel has a prominent comedy and action band extending from 8.00 pm to 10.30 pm (notable comedies such as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Full House, Caroline in the City, Will & Grace and Friends are telecast during this time band) and 10.30 pm to 11.30 pm (action dramas such as Code Name Eternity, She Spies, Black Scorpion and La Femme Nikita are telecast during this time frame) from Monday to Thursday.

On Fridays, the line-up sees a reversal with season nine of Friends telecast at 8.30 pm, West Wing at 9.00 pm and Six Feet Under at 10.00 pm. Also to debut in the near future will be Opposite Sex, a short series on teenagers, which will be aired at the 8.00-pm time slot on Fridays.

Weekends are a time to play catch-up with a recap of comedies such as Friends on Sunday afternoons, Full House on Saturday mornings and Will and Grace on Sunday mornings.

Variety creeps in on Saturdays with a slew of dramas beginning with ER starring George Clooney, at 5.00 pm, suspense drama Mr and Mrs Smith at 8.00 pm and cop drama Homicidal Life on the Street at 9.00 pm. A show on the lighter side titled Candid Camera is telecast at 1.00 pm on Saturday afternoons.

Apart from this, ZEE English has yet to go the whole log in terms of exploring new genres. Its lead comedy show Friends is into its penultimate season (season nine is the second-last series followed by season ten, which will be the last of Friends) with a decision yet to be taken whether the sequel to Friends, that is, Joey, centered at the character played by Matt LeBlanc, is to premiere on the channel.

ZEE MGM, meanwhile, has the Bond Spy Festival on this month, featuring old as well as new James Bond films. The channel has unleashed a multi-media campaign promoting the festival besides tying up with Café Coffee Day, which will serve a special Bond brew throughout October. A similar initiative has been undertaken in the case of Friends with a special brew served at Café outlets to initiate drinkers to the show. "Television sets at the Café outlets will also be tuned in to ZEE MGM and English to provide further impetus," says Yardi.

Movie of the Year Chicago will premiere in December on the channel while Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz will premiere in January or February next year. Also in the pipeline is George Clooney's directorial venture, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which is likely to be telecast in March next year.

Apart from blockbusters, which encourage sampling and create high interest value, thematic festivals, which are kicked-off on a regular basis on the channel, are also getting a good response, claims Yardi. "We launched a Beyond Hollywood festival in September featuring crossover as well as non-Hollywood movies," she says.

Movies such as Leela, East is East and Life Is Beautiful among others have premiered under the Beyond Hollywood banner with more action slated this month. "The festival will continue throughout October with dubbed versions of foreign-language films on the cards," she adds. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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