Date: 22nd September 2000

Indian Authorities Claim Millionaire Is "Gambling"

London-based Celador Productions, creators of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, has attempted to distance itself from an Indian brouhaha over the show that threatens to shut it down in that country.

The flap began earlier this week when authorities issued summonses for Rupert Murdoch (whose Star Plus TV carries the show in India), Star exec Peter Mukherjee and producer Siddhart Basu to respond to charges that the show breaches Indian gambling laws.

Although Celador licensed the program to the Indian producers (including the 169-page guide that details how the show's set, music, question format, and qualification process are to be addressed) a spokeswoman for the company told the BBC Thursday, "We are unable to comment on issues of local law." The BBC observed that the popularity of the show in India, where the top prize is 10 million rupees ($245,000), "has turned around the fortunes of the Star Plus channel."

Source: Studio Briefing