Sumita Vaid

NDTV to produce new show for Zee

Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, the first non-news, entertainment programme produced by NDTV for Zee TV, is slated for launch on March 22

Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai (JIKNH), the first non-news, entertainment programme produced by NDTV for Zee TV, is slated to hit the Indian airwaves on March 22. The hour-long JIKNH is a weekly celebrity show that will be telecast every Friday on Zee TV at 9.00 pm. The live, no-retakes show will feature personalities from Bollywood, sports and politics. Popular film and television personality Farooque Sheikh will anchor the 52-episode programme, four of which have already been shot. Shah Rukh Khan will be the first celebrity to star on the show. Others to follow include Aishwariya Rai, Karishma Kapoor, Saurav Ganguly and Laloo Prasad Yadav.

The programme aims to recreate the past of these celebrities and focus on the ‘special' people and moments in their lives. The surprise element involves the appearance of these ‘special' people on the same show. Once JIKNH goes on air, Chhoti Maa…Ek Anokha Bhandhan and Kohi Apna Sa, which currently run on this time slot, will be cut down in frequency and run from Monday to Thursday every week. Talking about the concept, Sandeep Goyal, group broadcasting CEO, Zee Telefilms, told agencyfaqs!, "JIKNH is based on a novel concept and will appeal to everybody. The celebrities will change the product. The programme, I believe, will take centrestage."

The idea, however, has evoked mixed reaction among media professionals. While some believe JIKNH might help stabilise the dwindling viewership of Zee TV, others say the programme might just sink without a trace. For one, Basab Sarkar, managing director, Maximize India, is very optimistic about the show. "Indians are very nostalgic and emotional by nature. And this show hopes to build an emotional bond with the viewers by showing the human face of the celebrities. In my view, this programme will really do well," he says.

Besides this attempt at forging an emotional bond, JIKNH has quite a lot going for it. "The concept is promising. First, the production standards are going to be pretty high because this is an NDTV production. Second, unlike the staid and the standard Q&A chat shows that one has got used to, JIKNH seems a fun, chatty show. And the surprise element is certainly going to make the programme very entertaining," says CVL Srinivas, COO, North & South, Madison Media.

NDTV sources believe it is the extensive research that will set the programme apart from the current fare available on Indian television. "Each episode of the JIKNH series will be different. They will be based on extensive research and will tell you something you have never known about your favourite star," says Prannoy Roy, president, NDTV. It seems about two to three months of research has gone into researching the life of each personality. "The show is about human stories. This research has helped us document the life of these personalities with the help of their companions, peers and mentors in a way that brings fun, laughter, sentimental reunions, surprises, disbelief etc on the show," says Sucharita Ghosh, chief producer, infotainment & entertainment, NDTV.

Despite the hype, some believe the optimism of Zee and NDTV might be misplaced. In fact, Rajul Kulshreshtha, associate vice-president, Universal McCann, does not find anything revolutionary about the concept. "It's old wine in a new bottle. And all these faces - Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwariya Rai, Karishma Kapoor etc - have been done to death." Gopinath Menon, executive media director, TBWAAnthem agrees when he says, "Probably a programme on unsung heroes would have worked better."

However, the general consensus is that the challenge for Zee now is to win back the viewers it has lost to STAR and Sony. Partha Pratim Sinha, director, marketing, Zee Telefilms, is confident that the media campaign for JIKNH, made by Rediffusion, Mumbai, will make the right connect with the viewers. "The campaign is about celebration of life and that is what we are using to connect people with the programme." While the TV campaign broke on March 12, the print campaign will break on March 16. All this will be supported by a concerted outdoor effort. Zee officials are unwilling to talk about the investment on the show, the sponsors or the revenues expected.

No doubt, Zee is betting a lot on JIKNH. It just might revive Friday night viewing (9.00 pm to 10.00 pm) for Zee TV. According to ORG-Marg's INTAM data (for C&S homes in 49 cities) for the February 25 to March 3 week, Zee TV's Chhoti Maa…Ek Anokha Bhandhan, which is aired at 9.00 pm (Fridays), and Kohi Apna Sa at 9:30 pm (Friday), do not even figure among the Top 10 programmes on Indian TV. Their respective TVRs are 1.0 and 1.8.

In comparison, Sony's KKusum (9.00 pm to 9:30 pm), stands at No 6 (during the same week) with a TVR of 4.9, and Heena (9:30 pm to 10.00 pm) has a TVR of 3.1. STAR TV's Khulja Sim Sim, the one-hour game show (9.00 pm to 10.00 pm), also stars among the Top 10 with a TVR of 4.3. Now with JIKNH on air from the last Friday of this month, Zee officials are hoping "the tide will turn in Zee's favour".

Only time will tell if Zee has finally got its formula right! © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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