'Millionaire' heads to Afghanistan

First light entertainment format licensed there

LONDON -- It may still be an active military theater, but Afghanistan is about to get an injection of Western entertainment with the launch of an Afghan version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

2waytraffic International, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, has licensed the "Millionaire" format rights to local producer Shams Prods., which is in final discussions with an undisclosed broadcaster.

The deal, announced Friday, marks the first time a light entertainment format has been officially licensed into the territory.

Shams Prods. will begin production on 52 60-minute episodes of the show in late November in Kabul.

Contestants will have their eye on the main prize, 1 million Afghanis, equivalent to $21,000, a "life-changing" amount of money in Afghanistan, 2waytraffic International managing director Ed Louwerse said.

" 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' has always been a groundbreaking format in terms of its incredible global reach and track record," Louwerse said. "So when Shams Group International wanted a high-quality light entertainment format to launch in the Afghanistan market, 'Millionaire' was the first show they looked to."