GOA, India – The Indian version of “24” has been greenlighted for a second series, despite only modest ratings performances by the series one reformat.
The show modeled on the Fox original series, debuted on Colors, the Indian general entertainment channel promoted by Viacom 18, on Oct. 4 and is now in its seventh week. The show is produced and stars Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) in the Jack Bauer role originally made famous by Kiefer Sutherland.
“We are committed to season 2,” Raj Nayak, CEO of Colors, told Variety. “And we are confident that the second season will rate better than the first.”
Season one debuted to 3.2 million viewers, behind established shows on rival networks, and behind Colors’ own comedy show. Nayak says that ratings for “24” are now picking up on a week-by-week basis and that the series has scored strongly with viewers in major metropolises.
It is directed by Abhinay Deo, from an adapted screenplay by Rensil d’Silva, Bhavani Iyer and Priya Pinto. Anupam Kher and Shabana Azmi have appeared in minor roles.
“The ratings have not done as well as we wanted, but then the content and the style are new for India. Time will show that this show is one of the game changers for Indian television, and that Colors is a channel that leads, not follows trends,” said Nayak. “What it has also done is bring in new audiences. We are now finding that standoffish English-channel audiences are now watching a Hindi-language general entertainment channel.”
Nayak said a period of planning would take place in December ahead of the start of production on series 2 early in 2014. The new show is expected to go to air slightly earlier, in September and October.
After the first season completes its current run Colors plans to repeat the series stripped into a weekday slot, rather than its current scheduling of two episodes per weekend.
The repeats will play on Rishtey, a free-to-air channel that Colors plans to launch in India in the coming months. Rishtey launches imminently in the U.K.
Speaking on the margins of the Film Bazaar co-production market in Goa, Nayak said he foresees Colors becoming more involved in independent film sales.
“We already syndicate our content in 138 countries, it would not be difficult to add movies to the mix. I see it as a commercial opportunity and a service to the many independent producers who have not got distribution through other distribution channels,” he said. Colors’ syndication activities are headed from Mumbai, with additional content sales offices in Dubai, the U.K. and U.S.