'Geo-Genius' makes India debut


NEW DELHI -- An Indian version of "Nat Geo-Genius" has premiered on National Geographic Channel via a deal brokered by Granada International.

The 13-episode, half-hour show produced by Mumbai-based production company Miditech launched Saturday and is hosted by Indian actor-director Rajat Kapoor. German airline Lufthansa sponsors the program.

"Nat Geo-Genius," which launched in the U.K. in 2001, is a quiz show in which contestants are challenged on their knowledge of the countries they pass through on a virtual expedition around the world. The ultimate winner, the Nat Geo-Genius, receives an all-expense paid trip for two to the destination of his dreams.

The deal was handled by Granada International, which brought together advertising agency Group M, part of the global WPP Group, National Geographic and Miditech, whose other credits include an Indian version of "Sesame Street" for Cartoon Network.

"We are very pleased to have concluded such a ground breaking deal within India," Granada International regional director James Ross said. "The result is a win-win situation for all parties. We look forward to concluding further creative deals in other areas of the Asian region in the future."

In December, Miditech announced a joint venture with Turner International, which plans to launch a Hindi general entertainment channel.