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STAR?s gamble with SRK

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 01:48 IST

Hold your breath. Shah Rukh Khan will be paid a humungous Rs 70 lakh per episode for the new round of Kaun Banega Crorepati? (KBC) on STAR Plus. That is close to doubling the Rs 40-lakh-per-episode rate paid to Amitabh Bachchan for the previous rounds. Shah Rukh Khan must have done the math. The KBC contract with 52 one-hour episodes running from mid-January to April is worth a mouth-watering Rs 36.4 crore.

As a single annual contract, this is possibly the highest a Bollywood screen actor has signed to date. The other big whopper speculated about is the Rs 30 crore deal between Adlabs and Hrithik Roshan for three movies. Who says the small screen does not pay?

“It’s a supply-demand mismatch,” said a senior STAR executive. Who can replace the Big B but a Shah Rukh Khan? But then you have to pay what he demands.”  Shailaja Kejriwal, STAR’s head of programming, refused to divulge details. However, senior STAR sources preferring anonymity confirmed that Shah Rukh Khan’s dotted line indeed read Rs 70 lakh per episode.  But from STAR’s point of view, what does this  expensive reality show mean for the network?  If it clicks, will it consolidate STAR Plus’ domination over Hindi entertainment television? Or will it turn out to be a money-guzzling Achilles Heel?