Bachchan returns as 'Millionaire' host

Bollywood star helped to make game show a hit

NEW DELHI -- Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan will return as the host of the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” that will air on Sony Entertainment Television towards the end of the year.

Bachchan, 67, first hosted “Kaun Banega Crorepati” in 2000 when it debuted on News Corp.'s Star Plus and became a sensation, turning the fortunes of both the channel and himself, making a comeback after a lull in his film career.

Since then, Bachchan has hosted two more seasons of "KBC," with the previous season hosted by superstar Shah Rukh Khan, all of which aired on Star Plus.

As in the past, "KBC"'s fourth season will also be produced by TV production house Big Synergy, which has adapted various international formats such as “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” and “Power of 10." The second season of the local version of “Power of 10” will also return to SET later this year.

“I am grateful to Sony Entertainment Television for giving me this opportunity. The show is very close to my heart. 'KBC' is a good television habit, it brings the whole family together and knowledge is shared in the most interesting and entertaining way. I’ve always been in touch with my audience/viewers and 'KBC' is a great way to engage with them,” Bachchan said in an official announcement Wednesday.

“We are pleased to bring 'KBC' – a format owned by [SET] to Indian viewers. Once we decided to launch the show, the only name which came to our mind was that of Amitabh Bachchan,” SET COO N.P. Singh added.

SET has been slipping down the ratings charts against established rivals Star Plus, Zee TV and relative new entrant Colors.

Meanwhile, SET parent Multi Screen Media has been in the spotlight in recent months, embroiled in allegations over financial payoffs for TV rights for its lucrative property, cricket's Indian Premier League. In addition, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was suspended in April by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for “alleged acts of individual misdemeanors” that are currently under investigation.