'Bet' winning big in China


COLOGNE, Germany -- If ratings in China are any indication, ABC's gamble on the hit German format "Wanna Bet ...?" could result in a handsome payoff.

"Bet," which goes out weekly as "Xiang tiaozhan ma?" on China's CCTV, is drawing an average of 35 million-50 million viewers, making it one of the territory's top three formats.

According to figures released Friday by German pubcaster ZDF, which broadcasts the original show, special airings of the Chinese version have grabbed as many as 100 million viewers.

ABC has picked up the U.S. version of "Bet" from producer Phil Gurin ("The Weakest Link"), who acquired the rights from ZDF's international sales arm, ZDF Enterprises. U.K. presenters Ant & Dec will host the U.S. version of the show.

"Bet" is Germany's most successful entertainment-variety show. Featuring celebrity guests who bet on crazy stunts performed by ordinary people, the show has been a ratings giant for more than two decades, drawing an average of 16 million viewers in a territory with 82 million inhabitants.