Packer woos Hindi 'millionaire' host

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BOMBAY--The runaway success of the Hindi version of U.K.-created game show "Who wants to be a millionaire" is believed to have prompted Australian James Packer's Nine Broadcasting to attempt to lure its star host to its Indian subsidiary for a similar show, "Greed."

The euphoria surrounding "Kaun Banega Crorepati,'' the Hindi show broadcast in India, is clogging the country's phone lines and making Star Plus the most popular TV channel, bringing it hefty ad revenues. Host Amitabh Bachchan, a huge Bollywood film star, is reckoned to be a prime draw of the show.

Nine Broadcasting executives won't comment on reported talks between Mr. Packer and Mr. Bachchan, or on whether "Greed" will come to India. The show, which is reportedly offering $2 million in prize money, would run in prime time on national broadcaster Doordarshan and would reach 60 million households.

In a separate move to capitalize on "Millionaire" fever, Sony TV is thought to be considering introducing "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" to the country.

Copyright August 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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