Kolkata: Over 50 lakh contestants from across the country have applied to be part of the fourth season of the much-awaited `Kaun Banega Crorepati` (KBC), to be hosted by Amitabh Bachchan.
"KBC phone lines opened on August 2, and within eight days we had more than 50 lakh participants registering with us. But only 1233 contestants among them have been shortlisted making it the most exhaustive selection process for the show anywhere in the world," Danish Khan, Vice-President (Marketing) Sony Entertainment Television told reporters here today.
Auditions were being held to determine the final contestants in Lucknow, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
"KBC audition is probably the biggest `joint entrance exam` in India where successful registrants from across the country and from different socio-economic backgrounds will compete," Ajit Thakur, business head of the channel said.
An adaption of the American television gameshow `Who Wants to be a Millionaire`, KBC rewrote television ratings in the industry after Star Plus introduced it in 2000.
After three editions of the hugely-successful format, Sony TV bought the rights of the show this year.
With plans to limit the fourth edition to 13 weeks, the channel is eyeing a launch during Diwali.
"We will start the show in between Dussehra and Diwali," Khan said, adding that the production house, Big Synergy, is currently assessing a fresher and reworked format to appeal to audience and overcome viewer fatigue.
Besides reducing the number of questions to 12 from 15, there will also be a time limit to answer the first few questions.
"The selection process is such that we are giving equal opportunities to a wider cross-section of people irrespective of their gender, geographical status, age and socio-economic background," the official said.