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We have dedicated time of 8 pm on weekends to showcase talent: Danish Khan

Post the success of its dance reality show, ‘Super Dancer’, Sony Entertainment Television is all geared to bring back one of its biggest properties – ‘Indian Idol’. The show makes a comeback on the channel after four years with its 9th season on December 24 and will air every Saturday and Sunday at 8 pm. 

This season also marks the comeback of its original trio of judges – Farah Khan, Sonu Nigam and Anu Malik, who have come together on the platform once again, after 12 years. While the contestants impress viewers with their talent, the judges will also mark them on three most important factors that define the ‘Indian Idol’ platform – Riyaaz, Awaaz and Andaaz. 

The show will begin with audition episodes from across the country. Karan Wahi and Paritosh Tripathy will host the 9th Season. 

Danish Khan, EVP & Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television, commented, “We have created a dedicated time of 8 pm on weekends that will continue to bring unseen talent to our viewers. ‘Super Dancer’ saw some amazing dancers and now with ‘Indian Idol’, we intend to take this legacy ahead. The original trio of judges is a lethal combination in the world of music and their chemistry coupled with outstanding singers will surely create magic on screens.” 

Vidyuth Bhandary, Business Head, FremantleMedia India, added here, “The global phenomenon of the Idol format – launched in 52 territories worldwide and rated as the No. 1 show 48 times – has been watched by half a billion viewers globally, making it one of the world’s most loved shows. We are proud of our strong partnership and collaboration with Sony Pictures Networks India, and happy to announce the launch of the 9th season of ‘Indian Idol’. It’s been 12 years since the first season of ‘Indian Idol’ was launched on SET, making it the longest running reality show in India with unprecedented participation.”  

Meanwhile, the three judges were nostalgic about their association with the show. Said Sonu Nigam, “We literally started the show in India in 2004. I have abstained from TV for half a decade and thus, getting back on Idol is like getting back to my roots.” Farah Khan added here, “I have fond memories of judging the show in 2004 and look forward to having similar fun this season as well. I remember the kind of shayris Anu Malik used to recite in the first season and I am sure people remember my and Sonu’s reactions too.”

Adgully caught up with Danish Khan to know more about what to look forward to in Season 9 of ‘Indian Idol’, the marketing and promotion plans, digital push and more. 

‘Indian Idol’ is returning on television after a gap of four years. What kept the show off air since 2012?
I have been with Sony for just one year, so I can tell you about the last 12 months. Since day one, ‘Indian Idol’ has been part of the development. We took time to develop it because we wanted to present it like never before. We spent almost nine months on scouting talent, talking to people, figuring out what kinds of talent we have to start with, and getting the judges on board. These three names – Farah Khan, Sonu Nigam and Anu Malik – are the biggest names we have in music and we wanted to get the original trio back, so their timing, etc., had to match. 

What can we look forward to in Season 9? What new elements will you be introducing?
There are three aspects that we are extremely excited about this season. The first is talent, as I have said, we have spent an incredible amount of time, energy and focus on zeroing in on this talent. The work started much before the auditions. There was an intensive campaign to spread the word to find the talent, sending out scouts as well as encouraging people to participate in the auditions. All this has resulted in the kind of talent that has never been seen on Indian television and you will be surprised to see the top 14 ‘Indian Idol’ contestants, who are the outstanding singers that this platform had given to the nation. 

The second aspect is the return of the original trio of judges – Sonu Nigam, Anu Malik and Farah Khan. Their chemistry, knowledge of music, respect for each other and the ability to inspire, motivate and present are this amazing. So, we were very sure that when we returned with ‘Indian Idol’, we needed to have this judge panel. 

Overall, the GEC space is extremely competitive, all the channels are doing some great work, every channel is presenting something interesting. So every week, we have to delight our viewers with something interesting. Thus, ‘Indian Idol’ this year, without changing the format, will be a delight factor for the viewers every week. This is the third aspect that we are focusing on.

How did you zero in on Karan Wahi as the show’s host?
Karan has hosted ‘Indian Idol Junior’ earlier and he is very good. He will be joined by Mama Ji from ‘Super Dancer’, who has been extremely popular, in anchoring the show. 

Please tell us about the promotion and marketing strategy for ‘Indian Idol Season 9’.
The marketing landscape has changed a lot today, compared to the time when I had started my career in marketing. Then, it was the effort to reach out to people. Today, majority of Indians are cued in to the latest developments and their source of information is amazing – right from television channels to digital media, the platforms available are many. Hence, today it is not so much about marketing as it is about content. If the content is good, the talent is superior, if there is drama, if there is a certain amount of novelty, people will watch it. So, the focus is to produce content with an interesting tag and that’s what we have tried to do with our campaign, which has been done internally by our communications team.

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