KBC says au revoir

It rewrote Indian TV rules, catapulted Star to the number one slot before losing steam and dwindling down to a mere two nights a week show.

Kaun Banega Crorepati will now take a breather from January 2002. 1 January, to be precise, will be the last we see of Amitabh Bachchan and the now famous line Lock kiya jaaye? till Star decides to revive the show. According to official estimates, the series can afford a respite at this juncture - it has had a run of 300 episodes, nearly 3000 contestants, over 500 on the hot seat, more than 60,000 studio audiences, over 90 million phone calls and more than Rs 260 million given away as prize money.

A temporary respite, in fact, is the international norm. Even the original Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? takes a break after running for six weeks. In India, it was the immense popularity that sustained the show for such a long run.

The channel has promised to bring the show back around July 2002, and is also scheduled to launch a slew of new programmes, beginning January. KBC, points out Star, brought glamour into Indian homes - with film stars Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, television stars from hit serials and cricketers too.

Says Star executive VP Sameer Nair: "We've enjoyed every moment of the show, shooting with Amitabh Bachchan, guests stars, interacting with audiences, and basking in the unprecedented success of the show. Every, such show needs a small break and now it's time for Kaun Banega Crorepati too. Come, July-August, and watch out… we'll be back with Amitabh Bachchan and a big, brighter and bigger show."

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