‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ had got the entire nation hooked to general knowledge, encouraged by host Amitabh Bachchan. Phrases like ‘Lock kiya jaaye’ became part of everyday usage. And, of course, who can forget the role that this game show had played in the Oscar winner ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, albeit under the name ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’.
The Original Version
The first season of KBC started in the year 2000 and was hosted by Bachchan. The first season had a total of 270 episodes and the average TVR for the season was 14.1 (CS 4+, HSM). The game show opened at 8.96 TVR, while the finale clocked in 7.26 TVR.
After a hiatus of four years, the second season of KBC started in the year 2005 and continued to be hosted by Bachchan. The name of the show was also tweaked a little bit to represent the start of the second season. It was then called ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati Dwitiya’ and had 60 episodes and the average of the season was 11.1 TVR.
The opening episode of the second season clocked in 19.75 TVR, which was way higher than the first season. The finale of the second season clocked in 6.39 TVR.
According to Sushma Y Jhaveri, Senior VP, Carat Media India, one of the reasons why the opening episode had such a high viewership was that the second season was after a hiatus of four years (like the World Cup) and there was a lot of expectations, coupled with Bachchan’s presence. Also, Star Plus was in a much stronger position in 2006 as compared to 2000. “The second season was on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when the viewing options are far lesser and the element of interactivity of playing KBC through mobiles also drew in more audience,” she noted.
Nikhil Rangnekar, Executive Director, India West, Starcom, observed that the expectations were definitely high for the second season, but mostly the second seasons of most reality shows did not generate the same excitement and the same happened with KBC. “Somehow SRK didn’t manage to excite audiences to the same extent as Big B did earlier and hence, the performance of the third season went down further. In terms of satisfaction, I think I would have definitely liked to see higher ratings,” he added.
Jhaveri pointed out here that there had been a change in the universe size of TAM and hence, the numbers were going to differ a bit. “Earlier, these numbers seemed good as we had serials delivering above 10 TVRs, but today, if a programme delivers above 5 for every episode, it’s a blockbuster,” she added.
In 2007, Shah Rukh Khan was roped in as host for KBC Season 3, which had a total of 53 episodes and an average TVR of 6.8. The opening episode recorded 9.6 TVR, while the finale recorded 7.63 TVR.
Harsha Joshi, COO, Madison India, commented, “The first season of KBC did well because it had both novelty and newness. When SRK was the host of KBC, there were viewers because of novelty of SRK as host, but it failed to sustain viewer interest due to lack of newness.”
The New Avatar
Now there is a strong buzz that Aamir Khan will be hosting the next season of KBC. Incidentally, Khan was the first celebrity participant who played KBC when the show had just started in 2000. Meanwhile, this will also be the first time that the show will be telecast on Sony, unlike the previous three seasons that were aired on Star Plus. While no official comments could be obtained from Sony, the market is already abuzz with talks ranging from the amount of money that is being paid to Aamir Khan to the tentative dates of the show.
But will the new host and new channel reflect positively on the numbers?
According to Madison India’s Joshi, “It is difficult to predict what the ratings on Sony would be; it could give a huge fillip like Season 1 of KBC did on Star Plus or be yet another reality show. However, the unaccountable factor here is Aamir Khan, given his track record on films, he may just be able to do the impossible and deliver a season 4 of KBC with unheard of ratings.”
Nikhil Rangnekar added, “The channel performance definitely impacts the ratings of any show. I would feel the viewership will be 20-30 per cent lower than if it was on any of the top 3 channels.”