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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kokh to Spend a Week as NTV's No. 1 ?Greed' Man

Alfred Kokh, general director of Gaz-prom-Media and former chairman of the State Property Committe, debuted in a new capacity Monday -- as the host of "Greed," a new game show on NTV.

A tan but unsmiling Kokh, in a dark suit and silver tie, spent an hour quizzing two teams of five contestants each, vying for a grand prize of 2 million rubles ($68,000).

The show, called "Alchnost" in Russian, is a big gamble for NTV, as it is airing in the same time slot as ORT's extremely popular news program Vremya.

In a recent interview with Vedomosti, Kokh said that the idea of his hosting the show was first proposed by NTV's general director Boris Jordan.

"I thought about it, and without too much wavering I accepted," said the head of Gazprom-Media, which now controls NTV. "Why not? ... It can't be that hard. Besides, I wanted to understand what kind of business this is."

Kokh said the game show is not a means of making money and that he has signed no contract with NTV.

The station bought the license for the game from Britain's Pearson TV, which also holds the rights to another game-show that has caught on locally -- "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" known in Russian as "O, Schastlivchik!" or "O, Lucky Man!" The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but sources said the station laid down several million dollars.

The show begins with teams of six people, but one member is quickly eliminated in the first round of questioning. Thereafter, the teams choose from among multiple-choice answers to questions with ascending money values. The competition is not only between teams but within each one as well.

Of 17 episodes filmed as of last week, five are hosted by Kokh. It remains to be seen whether Kokh will continue to host the show after the first week.

n?Also Monday, the shareholders of Media-MOST, which controlled NTV until this year's takeover by Gazprom, voted to begin "liquidating" the company, as ordered by a Moscow court in early August. Media-MOST spokesman Dmitry Ostalsky said the process is likely to last at least until next year.

The future of NTV's sister companies is unclear. While Media-MOST no long-er controls them, Gazprom-Media has been reluctant, or unable, to take charge.

Media-MOST and Gazprom-Media accused each other Monday of dragging out the process, which could result in the disintegration of 23 companies, including NTV Plus satellite television, Sport FM radio and the unfinished Oktyabr movie theater. Last week, NTV Plus director Yevgeny Yakovich resigned to protest the new owners' indecisiveness.

"It is absolutely clear they don't want to claim their ownership rights because that would mean having to work," Ostalsky said. "I have a feeling they fulfilled their political task, took over NTV, and that's where their mission ends."

Gazprom-Media spokeswoman Aelita Yevimova accused Media-MOST of spreading disinformation. She said Gazprom-Media has been unable to take charge because the court's freeze on the former Media-MOST stakes has yet to be fully lifted.

"We are waiting until we can become the owners and begin turning the companies around," Yefimova said. She added that Gazprom-Media "regretted" Yakovich's resignation but "did not want to assume responsibility for Media-MOST's financial mismanagement" at NTV Plus and other companies.

(Vedomosti, MT)