Rivals cool to Zee move on Sawaal

Zee TV's decision on Sunday to suspend Sawaal Dus Crore Ka, its answer to Star TV's Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), elicited suitably gracious reactions from rivals Sony and Star. Both channels refused to gloat, at least in public, over the new turn of events.

Rekha Nigam, Sony's head of programming, said it was always sad to hear of the death of a programme, for whatever reasons. Nigam, however, expressed confidence that the same fate would not befall Sony's Jeeto Chappar Phaad Ke (JCPK) which is slated to go on air in January. She said enough preparation had gone into the creation of the programme to make it a success. While comparisons to KBC would inevitably follow, JCPK will have its own unique pulling power, she added. "The experience is what will make JCPK survive rather than purely the money aspect." Sameer Nair, Star TV's Head of Programming, saw the development as an interesting one and according to him, inevitable considering the overall deficiencies Sawaal had when compared with KBC. "It will be interesting to see what Zee comes up with. After all Zee's new show will have to contend not only with with KBC but Sony's Chappad Phaad Ke too, he said."

Queried about reports that the enthusiasm for KBC itself was starting to wane, Nair said that what had happened was that viewer support was now at a steady level. The initial craze was bound to taper off, he clarified. Nair said that Star had a long-term commitment to KBC but might look at short breaks in the show in future as per the situation. This was the norm abroad also he asserted. He denied there were any plans for a Junior KBC aimed at kids.

Following the success of the show which aired Bollywood's Aamir Khan and Sonali Bendre, discussions are on to rope in Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee for an episode, according to The Asian Age. The Shah Ruk episode is likely to be aired on January 1, 2001.

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