Getting to the top is tough enough, but maintaining leadership is tougher still.
For STAR Plus, the numero uno Hindi general entertainment channel, the challenge of being a leader across the day has been an all-consuming passion.
After consolidating its number one position across the 9-11 pm slots, STAR Plus is now focusing on doing an encore for the 8-9 pm slots.
The channel will be launching a Monday-to-Thursday show Dekho Magar Pyaar Se, a youth-centric love story, at 8.00 pm from July 26. To accommodate this show, the channel has wound up Krishna Arjun, Khichdi and Kyun Hota Hai Pyarrr, which used to be telecast on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the 8.00 pm slot. Sonpari, which used to be telecast on Wednesdays, has been shifted to Fridays at 8.00 pm.
Khichdi, however, will be back on the channel in a new avatar around October this year. The sitcom produced by UTV completed its run on July 20, and according to Shailja Kejriwal, creative director, STAR Plus, the new series will be the next phase of the sitcom. "You could call it the next season of Khichdi, and the show has already gone into production," she says.
Kasautii Zindagii Kay, the Balaji Telefilms-produced show, which is telecast at 8.30 pm from Monday to Thursday, will stay put despite a change in the line-up of shows in and around it.
STAR Plus, according to Kejriwal, is keeping a close watch on the performance of the one-hour weeklies of the 9.00 pm band. "Saara Akash (telecast on Thursdays) and Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand (Mondays) are doing well for us. Kehta Hai Dil (Tuesdays) has seen a change in the storyline, and in Sanjivani's case (Wednesdays), we could always introduce a bunch of interns, if the story (or is it the TVR?) demands it."
Despite the attention to detail, speculation is rife that the channel may do away with its weeklies altogether.
Kejriwal, however, isn't commenting about it. "We are creating back-ups for everything, but to introduce new shows is a strategic decision, which has to be considered after taking into account what competition is doing."
Rival Sony Entertainment Television, for the record, is all set to introduce two half-hour shows Ayushmaan and Hum2hain na! in the 8.00 pm and 8.30 pm time bands, respectively. ZEE, on the other hand, is busy with its nation-wide talent hunt India's Best - Cinestars Ki Khoj, which is telecast over Fridays and Saturdays at 9.00 pm.
Though STAR has the opportunity to overhaul the 9.00 pm time band, considering that rivals are looking elsewhere, Kejriwal isn't revealing anything. All the action seems to be only around the 8-9 pm slots.
As for the 10-11 pm time slots, STAR Plus continues to muzzle competition with dailies Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki (telecast at 10.00 pm)and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (10.30 pm) - from Balaji Telefilms. These two serials continue to dominate the late prime time viewership, as has been their practice for the last four years.
The 11.00 pm band has Kahiin To Hoga (from Balaji again), which is also going strong, Kejriwal claims. A fillip to this serial has come in the form of its central characters - Sujal and Kashish - being voted as the 'Best Jodi' at the recently held STAR Parivaar Awards.
Coming to another jodi of STAR Plus - Anurag and Prerna of Kasautii Zindagii Kay - there are speculations that the timings of the show may change, coupled with a 20-year leap in storyline. So, is the couple, who were adjudged the Best Jodi at the STAR Parivaar Awards 2003, going grey?.
Kejriwal quashes these rumours, saying, "Kasautii Zindagii Kay is our flagship programme in the 7-9 pm band, and we will not change the timings of the show. You should, in fact, watch out for some very interesting twists and turns in the serial next week. And, Anurag and Prerna is not turning grey." © 2004 agencyfaqs!