Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

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Weekdays on Premiered Aug 16, 1999 In Season

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7.3
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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

Show Summary

From the four corners of the continent, people with dreams of instant riches are flown to New York City, to seize the day when they, with courage and wisdom, gain the opportunity to change the course of their lives in one short day. This is the world's greatest game show..... Who Wants to Be a Millionaire!!!

Based upon the British program of the same title, this show offers a maximum prize of $1,000,000 for correctly answering a series of multiple choice questions. Originally, as in the UK edition, contestants were required to correctly answer 15 questions of increasing difficulty, but in 2010, the format was modified so that the contestants are now faced with 14 questions of random difficulty. This show has endured as one of the longest-running and most popular variants in the global Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise.

The original hour-long prime-time version of the show was broadcast on ABC from August 16, 1999 to June 27, 2002, and was hosted by Regis Philbin, a famed media personality, actor, and singer with a career going back to the 1960s, who is most widely known for hosting a "live" morning talk show. ABC's overexposure of the program led audiences to tire of it, and grilled the show to cancellation. However, not all hope was lost for the property: the production team reincarnated the show as a half-hour syndicated series, which premiered on September 16, 2002. The syndicated Millionaire's original host was Meredith Vieira, a news anchor and journalist who, at the time of the show's debut, was chiefly known as the moderator of ABC's daytime talk show The View, then later co-hosted NBC's Today Show from 2006 through 2011, and is now set to become the host of a syndicated talk show that will premiere in the coming year. Vieira remained Millionaire's host through eleven seasons, hosting over 1,800 episodes and giving away over $70,000,000 to a vast multitude of contestants, before deciding to abandon her then-current career and pursue new opportunities. Subsequently, Cedric Kyles, an actor, director and (as his stage name implies) an entertainer, signed on to become the show's new host, and his run is set to begin in September 2013.

The game play of the Millionaire show has been changed substantially since the program's introduction to American airwaves. Originally contestants were required to call the phone number 800-433-8321 and play a telephone game wherein they had to answer three questions correctly, then get selected into a random drawing, then compete for ten spots on the show and subsequently play a preliminary "Fastest Finger" round before finally advancing to the Hot Seat to begin their journeys for $1,000,000. Now potential contestants take a written test, participate in an interview, and advance to the syndicated program, where they are simply called onstage after the preceding contestant's game ends.

The show originally adhered to the same format as the British version, but in 2008 the formula began to deviate substantially from the original, with the addition of a clock that would time contestants' questions, and the use of experts who would contact the contestant for answers via a face-to-face Skype connection. The format was given its biggest overhaul yet in Fall 2010, with the introduction of question randomization and the retirement of all the lifelines (with the exception of "Ask the Audience") in favor of "jumps" that would allow contestants to skip the question and move on to the next level automatically.

ABC has occasionally brought back the prime-time version for special editions. In 2004, the production team created Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire, which was aired on a more limited basis, and which featured a top prize of $10,000,000, more money than anyone else has ever won in television history to date. Then 2009 saw a special 10th Anniversary Celebration which celebrated the milestone of the program's debut with a number of special celebrity guests, including a "Mystery Guest" revealed to be Vieira, who would turn the tables on Philbin himself - and invite the remaining "Fastest Finger" contestants to compete on the syndicated show.

There were also a number of special events and gameplay twists on the mainstream program's run. A progressive jackpot was briefly used on the primetime show, increasing by $10,000 for each episode wherein the top prize was not won, and celebrity editions have also been conducted, with notable individuals from various fields playing for charitable organizations of their choice.

The U.S. version of Millionaire has been credited with single-handedly reviving - and even breaking new ground for - the game show genre. It revolutionized the look and feel of game shows with its unique lighting system, dramatic music cues, and futuristic set, and became one of the highest-rated shows in the history of American television. It paved the way for the genre of reality programming, and made catchphrases out of such lines as "Is that your final answer?"

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Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/2/2013

Season 12 : Episode 1

Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin

Himself

Tim Vincent

Tim Vincent

Guest Host (syndicated version)

Tom Bergeron

Tom Bergeron

Guest Host (syndicated version)

Leeza Gibbons

Leeza Gibbons

Guest Host (syndicated version)

Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira

Host (syndicated version)

Al Roker

Al Roker

Guest Host (syndicated version)

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Fan Reviews (150)

SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Before my hearing is completely shattered by Crews' screaming, where's his NEW GUY replacement?

    1.0
    It is a scientific FACT that Amazon river dolphins routinely engage in nasal sex, male to female or male to male, it doesn't matter. As long as their penis can touch another's blowhole it's good sex in dolphin lifestyle. You wrote that you researched the matter, couldn't find anywhere on the web that verifies the "Millionaire" nose-sex answer. Pls check again at knowledgesalad,com and you can read straightaway that the show's researchers got it right.moreless
  • Stupid annoying show

    1.0
    This show is so bloody stupid now that I just wanna go up there and destroy everything. First of all Terry Crews keeps barking like he's at some kind of kids party. Just shut the fuck up already and get a new catch phrase, seriously whats with that "LET'S PLAY MILLIONAIRE!!" He doesn't stop saying that! Now even some of the contestants get annoying (but not all). They get so freaking excited and scream like crazy when they win the 25000, 15000 or 10000 dollars! Next thing that happens they get a question wrong and leave with just $1000. -Haha sucker, no celebration now?? Moments ago you were going insane with the money. They act so confident as if they will win the million dollars for sure. "Yeah im ready, lets get this million dollars". Yeah right, as if you're really gonna win that. And then, they start blowing all their lifelines in the first couple questions, and then walk away with just 50% when no lifeline is left . WTF! Now those lifelines, they are freaking useless, except the Ask the Audience, thats the only useful one. The +1 doesn't do shit, as the person that they bring is often just as uncertain as them and seems like a waste of time. Jump the question doesnt help to win more money. I liked it better when they had that 50/50 lifeline where 2 wrong answers are gone. Lastly, the questions are so ridiculously stupid and hard that no one would know the answers to those. It's like they're reducing the amount of money that people win, and the fact they walk away with just half the money in first around is just selfish...moreless
  • ENOUGH-ALREADY

    1.0
    PRODUCERS, as Cirita mentioned, please ask the contestants to limit their "ENTIRE THOUGHT PROCESS," when answering a question. Thank you. Also, you made us Millionaire fans suffer through a whole season by not reading reviews and asking Terry to change those things. . If y'all did read our reviews, please enter a comment on this page. Again, thanks.
  • Contestants Annoying

    5.0
    Do we have to hear their complete thought process while they come up with a response?

  • What the heck was he wearing!!!???!!!

    5.0
    This guy that hosts, don't even think I know his name, is flamboyant and narcissistic flashing his pecs and talking just to hear himself talk. And his outfits are ridiculous can't even take the show seriously anymore ugh!

  • NEWS BRIEFS

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  • TV FILTER ON WHY THEY'RE NOT TOO CONCERNED ABOUT KEN BASIN'S $1 MILLION GAFFE

    Blog Spotlight: Someone Wanted to Be a Millionaire Too Badly

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    More Info About This Show

    Categories

    Game Show

    Themes

    pop culture references, cultural institutions, competing for money, cultural phenomenon, rags to riches