"On January 1, the colour of your TV screen will be red,” promised YRF TV’s promotional campaign throughout the month of December 2009. The hype preceeded the launch of a five show-bouquet for the weekend slot, on Sony, from the New Year, comprising Powder, Mahi Way, Lift Kara De, Seven and Rishta.com. Buzz is that the five shows are expected to go off air by July and pave way for a new set of shows from the same banner.
Danish Khan of Sony confirms that this will happen in the last leg of June. “The shows will not end abruptly though. They are finite concepts and will come to their logical end by the end of June. There will be more shows ready by then to fill the vacant slots,” he says. Khan adds that there will be a new set of four-five shows from the same stable, to replace the old lot. “It’s too early to discuss what kind of shows these will be, since they will only be on air in July. But they will be experimental and from different genres that haven’t been seen on TV before. Meanwhile, the old lot will be creatively analysed at every level. We plan to come up with second seasons for all of them, since they have done satisfactorily so far,” Khan states.
However, he admits that it’s a gamble running five shows that are drastically different from the ones on air over the weekend. “We didn’t expect them to take a flying start but most shows in the package are registering a steady growth, so there’s no reason to fret,” he asserts. Karan Johar who has received a lot of flak for Lift Kara De, points out that he’s not very conversant in Hindi. “I’m more comfortable speaking in English. The concept of the chat show is novel and noble though. And thanks to word-of-mouth publicity, the number of viewers tuning in is going up every week,” states the filmmaker-producer-anchor.
Show 1: Lift Kara De
Karan Johar playing host on Lift Kara De didn’t get great reviews. His show opened at 1.3 and reached 1.4 in three weeks. It has been moving at the same pace over the last three months, this despite there not being any hi profile shows on a Friday and Saturday in the 8 pm slot on any leading channel. The show was later turned into a one-and-a-half-hour-one-evening show from a one-hour-two-evenings show. It is aired on Saturdays now.
Show 2: Mahi Way
Mahi Way, inspired by Sony’s previous hit, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, opened at 0.9 and moved up to 1.1 in three weeks. It is probably the only show showing a steady growth. The show was shifted from Saturday to Friday evening, keeping the same duration.
Show 3: Seven
Seven, about seven specially powered boys and girls who are out to save mankind from destruction, flagged off at 1.1 but couldn’t hold the audience’s interest. Its ratings have plummeted since.
Show 4: Powder
Powder, despite fabulous performances, tight script and great direction, opened at just 0.5 and dipped to 0.3 in three weeks. In March, it was shifted from Sunday to Wednesday night to improve its TRPs while the IPL is on.
Show 5: Rishta.com
Rishta.com moved up to 0.6 from 0.4 in three weeks. But even today, it appears to be on shaky ground. It was eventually shifted to the Thursday night slot from its original weekend slot.
Powder, Mahi Way, Rishta.com, Lift Kara De and Seven, in the first three weeks of their run, registered TRPs that were far from encouraging. The shows were pitted against one-hour soap specials on competing channels like Colors and Zee TV and well-established reality show formats like Dance India Dance Season 2 on Zee. The YRF TV shows that had cost the channel approximately Rs 50 lakh each in promotional expenses, left the viewers unimpressed.
Even advertisers didn’t bite the carrot that for weeks had been dangling before them. On Day One, the channel preferred to promote its other shows but subsequently adverts had been few and far between, even though the slots were sold at premium rates.