Second time lucky for Sahara?

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 15, 2004
Sahara Manoranjan overhauled content last year, but it didn't quite work with audiences. Now, a revamp is on the cards, and the channel claims the story will be different

One factor that has been consistent with Sahara Manoranjan over the last one year has been the channel's attempts at rejuvenating itself at regular intervals. Shows have been launched and ideas mooted, and if they click, well and good. Otherwise, it is back to the drawing board for both programming and marketing executives.

An indicator of this churn is the fixed-point chart of the channel, which has different shows popping up from time to time. Balaji Telefilms' much-hailed Kahin To Milenge, for instance, sank without a trace in 2003. Launched in November 2002, it had signaled a new phase in the life of Sahara, marking the channel's association with the production house, which, till then, focused much of its energies creating content for the top three Hindi general entertainment channels. Another one, titled Grooves, which had the inimitable Jaaved Jafferi as the anchor of an ambitious talent hunt programme, also followed in Kahin To Milenge's footsteps last year.

Still others such as Kagaz Ki Kashtti, Parchaaiyan, Woh Kaun and Virasaat have been replaced with a prime time lot consisting of Kise Apna Kahein at 8.00 pm, Kadam at 8.30 pm, Zindagi Teri Meri Kahani at 9.00 pm, Karishma at 9.30 pm, Aarzoo Hai Tu at 10.00 pm and Kagaar at 10.30 pm. Add to this, Mission Fateh, Gilli Danda, Mukkammal, Aane Wala Pal and Kuch Pal Saath Tumhara, and Sahara's line-up is choc-a-bloc, at least for now.

At a broader level, this overhaul was tied in with the channel's efforts at emerging as a platform of some consequence, providing wholesome entertainment for the family. 2003 was billed as the year when Sahara would bounce back into the thick of action with a mix of star-studded daily shows and blockbuster movies that it had acquired in the recent past. Bollywood was the plank the channel proposed to use to wean away audiences from rival channels, and Sahara left no stone unturned in promoting its prized draw Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny.

What became of Karishma, subsequent to launch on August 25, 2003, is a reference point, of course, that most programming executives will use when discussing about under delivery of high-profile shows. Triptii Sharma, senior vice-president, programming, Sahara Manoranjan, would like to believe that the show has been an enormous "learning experience". As if to concede a point, she says, "Now, the episodes are tighter and the storyline more dramatic with twists. We have worked a lot on Karishma in terms of audience preference."

Not one to give up yet, the channel has now pinned its hopes on Sridevi-starrer Malini Iyer, which is set to debut on January 19, 2004. The Sahara line-up will get a further boost with the Raveena Tandon-starrer Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, which is scheduled to go on air in February-March this year. "The Amitabh Bachchan show will happen in some time," says Sharma. "But there is a Hema Malini show coming before that." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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