‘Millionaire’ a plus for Star

Hindi skein 'Kaun banega crorepati' returns

NEW DELHI — The show that revolutionized reality TV in India is back after a five-year break.

A second season of “Kaun banega crorepati” — the Hindi version of the Celador-owned format “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” — launched June 6 on Rupert Murdoch’s Star Plus satellite channel with a telephone search for contestants.

The channel flashed its first question and will give a new one nightly until June 20.

Viewers phone in their answers, and all those who answer correctly get their names registered.

A computer-generated random search will whittle the number down to 500 in the second round, with a new quiz knockout leaving only 100 contestants by the third round. Ten contestants per episode then are invited on the show.

No date has been announced for the first episode, but it’s expected to air in a weekend primetime slot beginning in August.

Quizmaster is again Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, who is credited with boosting the popularity of the first season in 2000.

The show made News Corp.-owned Star Plus the highest-rated Hindi-language satellite channel in India; it had previously lagged in the No. 3 spot.

With prize money doubled to 2 million rupees ($46,000), and due to the long break since the first season, Star execs are confident “KBC” will even be more popular the second time around.

“KBC” will compete against a string of reality shows in their second seasons, including MTV’s “Hero Honda Roadies,” Channel [V]’s “Get Gorgeous” and Sony’s popular “Indian Idol.”

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