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Shah Rukh replaces Amitabh
Tired of being asked about taking over from Amitabh Bachchan [Images] as the host of the television game show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Shah Rukh Khan [Images] finally snapped and said that comparisons should never be made.
"You should not play down a person for the sake of playing up a person," SRK [Images] told a press conference in New Delhi on December 4 to announce the launch of KBC.
SRK praised Bachchan for giving the programme a unique identity in the first and second season of KBC. "How can I step into his shoes? His feet are so big," he said.
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Thoughout his interaction with the media, SRK maintained his calm and replied to the questions with a touch of humour.
"Amitji took this programme to new heights, and now, I have to live up to the expectatons. I am happy that I am coming back to the small screen and would soon be entering your bedrooms!" SRK exclaimed. "But let me clarify that I will not be the host, but the dost of my audience. This programme has given me an opportunity to interact with the audience and I am sure I will be able to make a place for myself in your hearts."
Reacting to a question that KBC happened to Bachchan when he was in a bad financial condition, SRK defended the Big B [Images] by saying, "He is an icon and it is not fair to talk about him in such a manner."
"I do three films a year and I will stick to this schedule," SRK continued. "I have made a commitment to Star Plus and I will have to find time to carry out my commitment."
When a scribe asked him who the next Bollywood king would be, SRK answered that there was no vacancy. "You find a new king when the old one abdicates. At the moment, you have a king," he smiled.
When asked whether he asked his son Aryan before he took up the show, SRK replied, "Yes, I told him that Sameer uncle (Nair, CEO, Star Entertainment, India) wanted me to take up the job of anchor of KBC. He told me promptly that I should do it only if Crorepati Uncle refuses. When I told him that Amitji has already refused, he was sad. I am confident he will forget it soon once the prgramme is on air."
By hosting KBC, SRK will make a comeback to television, where he started his career in shows like Fauji and Circus.
Would he like to have Bachchan as a guest on his show? SRK said that he would go on his knees to Amitji and drive him back to the studio in a Santro -- the car which he endorses -- if the Big B agreed.
Sameer Nair informed that the new show of 52 episodes will hit the small screen in January.
"We have signed a contract with him for two years," Sameer Nair told rediff.com
"Whether he will continue to host the show (after two years) will depend upon the performance of the game show. We would review it after two years. May be we will continue with him or have another host," Nair explained.
However, Nair was confident that the new reality show will attract the audience and Shah Rukh with his wit, charm, energy and style coupled with the rock-solid foundation of the show will come together with an extraordinary television viewing experience.
"We are confident that the SRK and KBC magic will draw more viewers day after day, week after week," he said.
Nair evaded a reply when asked if the star was being twice the money that Amitabh Bachchan used to get. "All that I can say is that he will be paid adequately," he said.
Denying that the sharp decline in the TRP rating of KBC-2 had forced them to abandon the show mid way, Nair said: "This is not true. The show was doing better than the first KBC, but then Amitji fell ill. Then we experimented by showing old and new episodes and that is when the viewership fell and we decided to discontinue the show. It was in June that Amitji said he will not be able to do KBC and we started looking for the new host. The first name that came to our mind was SRK. We talked to him and he agreed to do it."
Nair clarified that the SMS controversy that had hit KBC 1 and 2 had been blown out of proportion by the media. "There was nothing in it. Allegations were made that some people got back to play the fastest finger first because they were Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited employees. But it died down quickly," he said.
On whether the channel planned to have Sachin Tendulkar [Images] and Karan Johar [Images] as celebrity guests on the show, he said: "We have not given it a thought. We will now sit down with Shah Rukh and decide."
Quizmaster Siddharth Basu said the marketing department had conducted a research on viewership of the show. "We have the figures. There is a sharp increase in the viewership in the age group of 18 to 35. And SRK would go well with them," he said.
Siddartha Basu's Synergy Communications will continue to produce KBC. Basu's company has entered into a deal with Celador, who conceptualised the show.
"Star India has signed a five year contract with Celador for this format. The deal incorporates both the format and programme license, and is the longest continuing license that has been granted for this global phenomena," Basu said.
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