Happy Weekend

With an eclectic mix of shows, channels look to build a steady audience over the weekends, a period earlier considered dull

When Entertainment Television launched Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) in its sixth season recently, they announced that the popular show would no more be a daily and will be moved to the weekend primetime slot of 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The switch proved to be among the smartest programming strategies for the channel as the show opened to a whopping 6.1 on the ratings charts, boosting Sony's position to second after Zee. "A show gets bigger over the weekend because we get to maximise our family audience base," says Vivek Bahl, the Chief Creative Officer of Sony Entertainment Television.

The channel's decision regarding KBC's programming, however, didn't come as a surprise to the industry as Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs) have been attempting to spruce up their weekend line-up with an eclectic mix of shows that might be at odds with the weekday programming.

The otherwise conservative Star Plus steered the revival of the Sunday morning slot with Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate and has followed it up with Lakhon Mein Ek that tells stories of real people who fought back against injustice. In the evenings, their fictional characters step out of the kitchen Arjun is a crime drama whereas Teri Meri Love Stories is a series of romantic telefilms. Zee has launched Ramayan in the mornings and Fear Files Darr Ki Sachhi Tasveerein in the evenings. Colors, too, has tied up with Sahara to air music talent show Sur Kshetra. Rush, a series of independent yet interconnected stories, are MTV's way of tapping the youth. The show, upon conclusion, will be replaced by 10-episode fiction, Bring On The Night.

"The gradual change in lifestyle and preferences of the families is changing entertainment patterns. They want extra zing in the shows," explains Manisha Sharma, Weekend Programming Head, Colors.

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