TV producer-director Siddhartha Basu, who brought popular quiz shows like 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' and 'Dus Ka Dum' to Indian television earlier, has now come up with news-based children's quiz show 'Newz Wiz', the first episode of which will feature Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.
The show will see students from different schools across the country testing their knowledge of current affairs.
Set to be aired on India Today Television starting July 24, 'Newz Wiz' will feature senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai as the host and quizmaster.
"One of the underlined propositions is -- news is knowledge and knowledge is news. But today there is a lot of misinformation going on as there are so many mediums -- TV, newspapers, magazines and most importantly internet. How do people get to know about things, particularly young people," Basu told IANS.
"Coming of age, we have the largest population of young people in the world. But how plugged in are they to what is going on around them. There isn't a platform for them to show their excellence. There's hardly anything (TV show) where people can watch what the level of awareness of young people. That's why we have come up with 'Newz Wiz'."
"The subject for the show is what's on top of the mind in the left weeks or months. What's the news going on. Also the viewers will get to play along with the contests literally while we will have some questions for them also," Basu added.
'Newz Wiz' received entries from 1,500 schools across India from students of Classes 9 to 12, of whom 60 were shortlisted through an online test. The list was further trimmed to 27 schools which will participate in the finals.
The show will consist of 13 episodes which will feature three teams consisting of two participants in each episode.
The teams will be provided with a phone-in helpline where they can take help on their answers from a journalist of the concerned field. Apart from that, the show will also have a web guide station where one team member can look up the answers and assist the other team member who will be attempting the question in an allotted time.
Talking about changing gears from being an anchor to quizmaster, Sardesai said: "It's in a strange sort of a way -- fulfillment of a dream because one of my proudest moment as a young school boy was winning the Bournvita Quiz Contest at the age of 12 or 13. This was with Ameen Sayani for a radio show."
"The first time that I came to Delhi was for National Cadet Corps (NCC) inter-state quiz competition. The second time was for 'Quiz Time' for which Siddhartha was the quizmaster. So I used to quiz a lot. Now getting a chance to be the quizmaster on a news TV show is a great idea."
Sardesai said that 'Newz Wiz' will help youngsters start taking interest in news.
"One of my hopes has always been how do you get young people interested in news, particularly school kids. One interesting way is to start a news quiz with perhaps encourages them to at least follow the news a bit more closely," Sardesai said.
The winner of the show will get a trophy apart from other exciting prizes.