KBC follows in Don II steps - STAR gets Shah Rukh to do show after Bachchan declines

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By PRATIM D. GUPTA in Calcutta
  • Published 26.11.06

Calcutta, Nov. 26: After Don, Shah Rukh Khan will do an Amitabh Bachchan on the small screen.

Come January and he will take over from Bachchan as the host of the most popular Indian TV show ever, STAR Plus’s Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Over dinner in his hotel room in Melbourne during the shooting of Yash Raj Films’ Chak De India, Shah Rukh told a friend in the crew that he “was genuinely excited to be hosting KBC”.

He added that he “decided to take up KBC because of the great reaction to Don” where he “was not unfairly compared to Mr Bachchan”.

But SRK came into the picture only after AB refused to take the famous black chair again. He even did not wish to complete the 24 episodes of the Dwitiya season, which he couldn’t shoot last year because of his sudden illness.

Sameer Nair, the chief executive of STAR Entertainment, confirmed to The Telegraph: “Mr Bachchan expressed his disinclination to continue doing the show and conveyed his unavailability to us. We respected that and even terminated the unfinished contract he had with us. But we had to move on because KBC is a show that is very close to our hearts as it laid the foundation for STAR Plus’s unprecedented success over the last six years.”

Shah Rukh was their first and only option as the quizmaster to replace Bachchan.

“If not Shah Rukh, who else?” asked Nair. “Who else can carry the torch forward? We have been talking to Shah Rukh for a month and a half now. Initially, he was pleasantly surprised but then became more than keen to do the show. We are sure that he will do a great job and bring his own flavour to the game.”

In a written statement, Shah Rukh said: “I was a (guest) participant in Season One of KBC and little did I know one day I would be hosting it. It is a huge act to follow, that of Mr Bachchan, but it also excites me that I am getting an opportunity to reach out, talk and interact with my audience through a medium where I began my career as an actor years ago.”

With Shah Rukh stepping into Bachchan’s shoes, KBC will be presented as “an all-new game show” and not as the third season when it returns in January. “However, those participants who had cleared the preliminary rounds last time and were slated to be on the show will be part of the new series,” added Nair.

“They have been waiting for a year since Mr Bachchan fell sick and we had to discontinue.”

STAR has also signed a new five-year multi-million dollar renewal deal with Celador, the company which owns the format rights of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the original of KBC. According to the deal, STAR can air one season of KBC every year, which translates to 52 episodes. Shah Rukh, however, has been signed for two seasons with an option for a third.

Going by Don’s box-office exploits, the audience sure doesn’t mind Khan taking over from Bachchan. Lock kkkkkiya jaye?