Mumbai: With changes in the format to suit shooting amid COVID-19, the 12th season of the popular quiz show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” (KBC), hosted by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, is set to air from September 28.

Produced by StudioNEXT, the Sony TV show, for the first time in 20 years, will not host in-studio audience keeping in line with the government mandated safety guidelines and protocols, the makers announced on Monday.

Therefore, one of the lifelines on the show – Audience Poll – will be replaced by Video-A-Friend, with the other three lifelines remaining the same – 50:50, Ask The Expert and Flip The Question.

Talking about the new season, Ashish Golwalkar, head – Content, Sony Entertainment Television and Digital Business, said the team received encouraging participation in the digital registration.

“The numbers showcase that people are readily embracing the ‘new normal’ brought on by the pandemic. This year’s theme, ‘Jo Bhi Ho Setback Ka Jawab Comeback Se Do’, reflects in the real-life stories and experiences that contestants will be seen sharing on the show, thereby serving as inspiring examples for the millions of viewers,” he said in a statement.

The number of fastest finger first contestants, who will compete to be on the hot seat per week, has been reduced from the usual 10 to eight.

To meet social distancing norms, the show’s set has also been “re-engineered”.

“We are certain that Mr Amitabh Bachchan’s charisma and the interesting on-screen and off-screen journeys of contestants, will keep the audiences engrossed. The show continues to be iconic in many ways and is sure to raise the bar this season as well,” said Indranil Chakraborty, Head StudioNEXT.

The show will also feature ‘KBC Play Along’ contest, where the audience can also participate and answer questions posed to the contestants on the hot seat.

Siddhartha Basu, consultant, Kaun Banega Crorepati season 12, said the show aims to come back stronger despite the challenges posed.

“While adapting to the realities of today, the show still packs a punch, reaching out to both the mind and the heart, touching lives in a very real way. Viewers can also look forward to playing along with the contestants, as they watch, with richer pickings than ever before,” said Basu.

Except season three, which was hosted by superstar Shah Rukh Khan, KBC has been presented by Bachchan since its first edition in 2000. (PTI)