Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (U.S. game show)
|Who Wants to Be a Millionaire|
|Created by||David Briggs
|Directed by||Mark Gentile (1999–2002)
Matthew Cohen (2002–10)
Rob George (2010–present)
|Presented by||Regis Philbin (ABC versions; 1999–2002, 2004, 2009)
Meredith Vieira (syndicated version; 2002–13)
Cedric the Entertainer (syndicated version; 2013–present)
|Composer(s)||Keith Strachan (1999–2010)
Matthew Strachan (1999–2010)
Jeff Lippencott (2010–present)
Mark T. Williams (2010–present)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||14 (3 on ABC, 11 in syndication)|
|No. of episodes||ABC (Original): 363
Syndicated: 1,950 (as of May 31, 2013)
ABC (Super Millionaire): 12
ABC (10th Anniversary Special): 11
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Davies (1999–2010)
Paul Smith (1999–2007)
Leigh Hampton (2004–10)
Rich Sirop (2010–present)
|Producer(s)||Leslie Fuller (1999–2002)
Deirdre Cossman (2002–04)
Dennis F. McMahon (2004–05)
Jennifer Weeks (2005–09)
Tommy Cody (2008–10)
McPaul Smith (2010)
Bryan Lasseter (2011–present)
|Running time||39–48 minutes (ABC)
22–26 minutes (Syndicated)
|Production company(s)||Valleycrest Productions (1999–present)
Buena Vista Television (1999–2007)
Disney-ABC Domestic Television (2007–present)
Sony Pictures Television
|Original channel||ABC (1999–2002, 2004, 2009)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV) (1999–2011)
720p/1080i (HDTV) (2011–present)
August 16, 1999 – June 27, 2002
September 16, 2002 – present
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (sometimes informally called Millionaire) is an American television quiz show based upon the British program of the same title, which offers a maximum prize of $1,000,000 for correctly answering a series of consecutive 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. The program follows the same general premise as its original UK counterpart, and is one of many international variants in the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise.
The original U.S. version aired on ABC from August 16, 1999 to June 27, 2002, and was hosted by Regis Philbin. The current syndicated version of the show began airing on September 16, 2002, and was launched by Meredith Vieira, who remained host for 11 seasons, ending in May 2013. Vieira will be replaced by Cedric the Entertainer beginning with the premiere of season 12 in September 2013.
As the first U.S. network game show to offer a million-dollar top prize, the show made television history by becoming one of the highest-rated game shows in the history of American television. The U.S. Millionaire has gone on to win seven Daytime Emmy Awards, and TV Guide and GSN have ranked it #7 and #5 on their respective lists of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time. In 2013, TV Guide ranked it #6 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.
Preliminary "Fastest Finger" round
On the ABC versions, ten contestants competed for the right to play the main game on each episode. The contestants were presented with a question and a list of four answers which needed to be put in a specific order (e.g., ordering four historic events starting with the most recent, ordering the size of animals starting with the smallest, etc.). Using keys on their podiums, each of the contestants attempted to enter the correct order in the shortest amount of time. If a player made a mistake, they could hit the Delete button and restart, but once the OK button was pressed, the answers were locked in. If the main game ended and there was still time available for another game, the remaining contestants would play another Fastest Finger round for a chance to play the main game. If two or more contestants tied with the fastest time, those contestants played an additional Fastest Finger question to break the tie.
If all contestants answered the question incorrectly, the round was repeated with another question. If any of the contestants were visually-impaired, the host read the question and four choices all at once, then repeated the choices after the music began. If only one contestant is remaining, the round would still be played.
The Fastest Finger round was eliminated in 2002, for the half-hour syndicated version.
Original format (1999–2008)
Once a contestant made it to the "Hot Seat," their goal was to correctly answer 15 consecutive multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty from progressively harder sets of questions. Each question is worth a specified amount of money; in most formats, the amounts are not cumulative.
Upon correctly answering questions five and ten, the contestant is guaranteed at least the amount of prize money associated with that level. If the contestant gives a wrong answer to any subsequent question, their game is over and their winnings will drop down to the last milestone achieved. If the contestant answers a question incorrectly before reaching question five, they leave with nothing. However, the contestant has the option of "walking away" without giving an answer after being presented with a question. In this case, the game ends and the contestant is awarded the amount of money the contestant earned for a previous correct answer.
Clock format (2008–10)
From 2008 to 2010, time limits were used for each question. Contestants were given up to 15 seconds each for questions 1–5, 30 seconds each for questions 6–10, and 45 seconds each for questions 11–14. Unused time was banked, and if the contestant were to reach question 15, they had 45 seconds plus however much time they had banked. Usage of lifelines temporarily paused the clock while the lifelines were played. If the clock reached zero before a contestant could provide a final answer, they were forced to walk away with the winnings they had at that point. However, if a contestant used the Double Dip lifeline and ran out of time prior to making a second guess, they were considered to have provided an incorrect answer and lost all winnings down to the last milestone achieved.
When the clock format was adopted, the on-screen graphics were updated. Also, a new "Millionaire Menu" was introduced, which has since carried over into the current format (explained below); in this, categories are revealed for each question at the beginning of the game, and are made visible to the contestant for their future reference. Some of the prize levels also changed at the start of season eight; this took effect after the ninth contestant from the 2009 primetime run played.
Most of the episodes in season eight (from the "Million Dollar Tournament of 10" onward) featured special "Celebrity Questions" that were mid-level in monetary value, and were provided by notable individuals whose identities were not revealed until the contestant reached their special questions. Celebrity guests that were given the opportunity of asking such special questions included the likes of Senator John McCain, Larry King, Donald Trump, Mario Lopez, Kathryn Morris, Vanessa L. Williams, Emily Procter, Gilles Marini, Shaquille O'Neal, Pauley Perrette, Jane Lynch, Joy Behar, Jo "Supernanny" Frost, Joe Mantegna, Robin Roberts, Elizabeth Vargas, Al Roker, Tim Gunn, Kathy Griffin, and even Philbin.
Shuffle format (2010–present)
The format was revised again for the beginning of season nine, on September 13, 2010. In this new format, the clock was removed, and the number of questions was reduced. Instead of 15 consecutive questions, there are now 14 questions distributed into two rounds. The contestant is given three lifelines in this iteration: Ask the Audience and two Jump the Question lifelines.
Ten questions are asked in round one, each assigned one of ten different money amounts: $100, $500, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, $15,000, or $25,000. The dollar values are randomized at the beginning of the game. The contestant is then shown the original order of difficulty for the ten questions as well as their categories, and those are then randomized as well. This means that the difficulty of the question is not tied to its value, and may be worth as little as $100 or up to $25,000. The dollar values for each question remain hidden until a contestant either correctly answers a question or uses the Jump the Question lifeline.
In this format, the value of each question answered correctly is added to the contestant's bank, for a maximum total of $68,600. A contestant who completes the round successfully can walk at any subsequent point with all the money in their bank, or can walk before the round is completed with half that amount (e.g., a contestant who banked $30,000 would leave with $15,000). Contestants who give an incorrect answer at any point in the round leave with $1,000.
Since the beginning of season ten, certain weeks of the show have been designated as "Double Your Money" weeks. In those, a certain question in round one is designated the "Double Money Question." When a contestant answers such a question correctly, the monetary value behind the question is doubled and added to his or her bank, giving him or her the possibility of adding up to a maximum of $50,000 to his or her bank on a single question; under these special rules, it is possible for a contestant to finish Round 1 with a maximum total of $93,600 in their bank. However, when a contestant uses the Jump the Question lifeline, he or she forfeits the doubled money. That season also introduced "Broadway Giveaway" weeks, in which one question during round one always pertains to Broadway performances. When such a question is played, a correct answer awards not only the monetary value behind the question, but also tickets to a performance for both the contestant and one entire row of the studio audience, chosen at random by the contestant.
Round 2: "Classic Millionaire"
After completing round one, the contestant moves on to a second round of gameplay, termed "Classic Millionaire" because of its resemblance to the previous formats utilized by the show. The final four questions are played for set values ($100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000) and a correct answer augments the contestant's winnings to that point, as in the older formats. The contestant is now allowed to walk away with all the money in their bank; an incorrect answer drops their winnings to $25,000.
Unlike the clock format and round one, there are no categories for "Classic Millionaire" questions, and unlike round one, the question values are not cumulative.
In the event that a contestant leaves and very little time remains, a randomly selected audience member is given one chance to win $1,000 by answering the next question intended for the previous contestant (or $2,000 if the next question was on a Double Money episode). Regardless of the outcome, the audience member receives a special prize. In seasons nine and ten, the prize was copy of a video game based on Millionaire (see "Merchandise" below); as of season 11, audience members now receive 20 free playings for a Facebook game based on the show's format.
|Question number||Question value|
($100, $500, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, $15,000, $25,000)
The $1 million top prize was initially a lump-sum payment, but was changed to an annuity in September 2002 when the series moved to syndication.
Contestants are given a series of lifelines to aid them with difficult questions. They can use as many lifelines as desired per question, but each lifeline (with the exception of Jump the Question) can only be used once per game. Three lifelines are available from the start of the game. Depending on the format of the show, additional lifelines may become available after the contestant correctly answers the fifth or tenth question. In the timed format of the show, the clock froze when a lifeline was being used and later continued from where it was stopped.
Ask the Audience (1999–present): Audience members use touch pads to designate what they believe the correct answer to be. The percentage of the audience choosing each specific option is displayed to the contestant. Ask the Audience is the only remaining one of the show's original lifelines.
- From 2004 to 2006, the Ask the Audience lifeline also included users of AOL Instant Messenger. Users wishing to participate added the screen name MillionaireIM to their buddy list and received an instant message when a contestant used his or her Ask the Audience lifeline. The message contained the question and four possible answers, and Internet users sent replies with their choices. During instances where the AIM side of the lifeline failed to work, the contestant was only able to rely on the studio audience's response.
Jump the Question (2010–present): This lifeline can be used twice in a single game. At any point prior to selecting a final answer, a contestant can use Jump the Question to skip the current question and move on to the next one; unlike the Switch the Question lifeline, Jump the Question reduces the number of questions a player must correctly answer. However, if the contestant uses Jump the Question, they do not gain any money from the question they choose to skip (for example, a contestant with a bank of $68,100 may jump the $100,000 question, but will still have only $68,100 instead of the typical $100,000 when they face the $250,000 question). Unlike other lifelines throughout the show's history, this lifeline cannot be used on the $1 million question.
Crystal Ball (2012–present): This lifeline allows the contestant to see the money value of the question currently in play prior to giving an answer; however, it is only available for Round 1. This lifeline is used occasionally on specially designated weeks, starting with a Halloween-themed week that aired from October 29–November 2, 2012. Crystal Ball can be used alongside the Ask the Audience and Jump the Question lifelines.
50/50 (1999–2008): The computer eliminated two incorrect answers, leaving one incorrect answer and the correct answer. From 1999–2002, the two removed answers were predetermined by the production team. From 2002 until the removal of the lifeline in 2008, two incorrect answers were randomly removed. In September 2008, 50/50 was replaced with Double Dip.
Phone-a-Friend (1999–2010): The contestant called one of up to five friends (three after September 2008), who provided their phone numbers (and, from September 2008 until the removal of the lifeline in 2010, pictures of themselves to be displayed on the screen) in advance. The contestant had thirty seconds to read the question and answer choices to the friend, who then had the remaining time to offer input. The Phone-a-Friend lifeline was sponsored by the original AT&T throughout the run of the ABC primetime show and in the first season of the syndicated version, then by the current AT&T for the 2009 primetime episodes. Phone-a-Friend was temporarily removed during episodes of the syndicated version guest hosted by Philbin that aired out of order in December 2009, then it was permanently removed beginning with the episode that aired on January 11, 2010. The reasoning behind the removal of Phone-a-Friend was because the producers felt that there was an increasing trend of contestants' friends using search engines and other Internet resources to assist those unfairly privileged individuals who had computer access over those who did not, and although that was not necessarily a violation of the rules of the game, it was contrary to the original intent of that lifeline, by which friends were supposed to provide assistance based on what they already knew. In return for the removal of the Phone-a-Friend lifeline, Ask the Expert became available from the beginning of the game, rather than after the fifth question.
Switch the Question (2004–08): The contestant earns this lifeline upon answering the tenth question. The computer replaces, at the contestant's request, one question with another of the same monetary value. Any lifelines used on the original question prior to the switching are not reinstated.
Three Wise Men (2004): Used only on Super Millionaire, this lifeline allowed the contestant to ask a sequestered panel chosen by the sponsor which answer they believed was correct. The panel, consisting of three people, one being a former $1,000,000 winner on the show and at least one being female, had 30 seconds to select an answer but did not need to reach a consensus—each member of the panel was allowed to provide a different answer.
Double Dip (2004, 2008–10): Originally used on Super Millionaire, this lifeline allowed the contestant to make two guesses at a question. However, once the contestant confirmed use of this lifeline, the contestant was committed to playing out the question and could not walk away or use any further lifelines. This lifeline was available throughout the game (unlike in Super Millionaire, where it was only available after the contestant correctly answered question 10). The clock was frozen until contestants gave their first answer and resumed for the second answer if the first was incorrect. A second incorrect answer (or failure to give a second answer before time expired) ended the game and dropped the contestant's winnings down to the last milestone achieved. On Super Millionaire, where Double Dip was available with 50/50, it was theoretically possible for a contestant to use 50/50 and then Double Dip to get the answer correct by elimination.
Ask the Expert (2008–10): Similar to the Three Wise Men lifeline from Super Millionaire, this lifeline allowed the contestant to call an "expert" via live face-to-face audio and video connection sponsored by Skype. The expert could be anyone from a celebrity to a previous Millionaire contestant; experts included Bill Nye, Ogi Ogas, Alan Thicke, Jay Thomas, and Ken Jennings. The lifeline was originally available after the contestant got the fifth question correct, then moved to the beginning of the game after Phone-a-Friend was removed. Unlike Three Wise Men, there was no set time limit and the contestant and expert were allowed to discuss the question. If a video link to the expert was unavailable, the expert joined the show via phone instead.
The original network version of the U.S. Millionaire, as well as the subsequent primetime specials (see below), were hosted by Regis Philbin. When the syndicated version was being developed, the production team felt that it was not feasible for Philbin to continue hosting, as the show recorded four episodes in a single day, and that the team was looking for qualities in a new host: it had to be somebody who would love the contestants and be willing to root for them. Rosie O'Donnell was initially offered a hosting position on this new edition, but declined the opportunity almost immediately. Eventually Meredith Vieira, who had previously competed in a celebrity charity event on the original network version, was named host of the new syndicated edition.
ABC originally offered Vieira hosting duties on the syndicated Millionaire to sweeten one of her re-negotiations for the network's daytime talk show The View, which she was moderating at the time. When the show was honored by GSN on its Gameshow Hall of Fame special, Vieira herself further explained her motivation for hosting the syndicated version as follows:
|“||I did the show because I fell in love with the show, and really, first and foremost, as a parent, [I feel that] there aren't that many shows on television that you can watch as a family. And when Michael Davies approached me and said, "Would you be interested in hosting the syndicated version?", I said, "Just point me toward the contract! I am so there!"||”|
From 2007 to 2011, when Vieira was concurrently working as a co-host of Today, guest hosts appeared in the second half of each season of the syndicated version. The guest hosts included Al Roker, Tom Bergeron, Tim Vincent, Dave Price, Billy Bush, Leeza Gibbons, Cat Deeley, Samantha Harris, Shaun Robinson, Steve Harvey, John Henson, Sherri Shepherd, Tim Gunn, D. L. Hughley, and even Philbin, whose episodes as guest host were aired out of order to coincide with his 2009 hip replacement surgery. Of those contestants that appeared on weeks featuring guest hosts, almost none carried over to the following week.
On January 10, 2013, Vieira announced that after eleven seasons with the syndicated Millionaire, throughout which she had hosted more than 1,900 episodes and offered a vast multitude of contestants a combined total of over $70,000,000, she would be leaving the show as part of an effort to focus on other projects in her career. She finalized taping of her last episodes with the show in November 2012. Her successor as host of the syndicated Millionaire, Cedric the Entertainer, will be introduced to the show when season twelve premieres in September 2013.
Michael Davies served as executive producer of the U.S. Millionaire from its 1999 debut until 2010. He shared his title with Paul Smith into 2007, and with Leigh Hampton (who had previously served as co-executive producer in the syndicated version's first two seasons) from 2004 through 2010. As of 2010, the duties of executive producer are presently handled by Rich Sirop. Vincent A. Rubino, who had earlier been the syndicated Millionaire's supervising producer for its first two seasons, served as that version's co-executive producer for the 2004–05 season. After that, he was succeeded for that post by Vieira herself, who continued to hold the title until the end of her tenure with the show, and who shared the position with Sirop for the 2009–10 season. The show's executives in charge of production have included Theresa Moore King (1999), Priscilla Taussig (2000–2002), Mona D. Kligman (2002–2010), and Shirley Abraham (2010–present).
Producers of the original primetime series included Hampton, Rubino, Leslie Fuller, Nikki Webber, and Terrence McDonnell. For its first season, the syndicated version was produced by Deirdre Cossman, who was succeeded by Dennis F. McMahon for the next two seasons, after which Jennifer Weeks produced the next four seasons of syndicated Millionaire shows, being joined for the 2008–09 season by Tommy Cody (who became sole producer in the 2009–10 season). The first 65 "shuffle format" episodes were produced by McPaul Smith, and as of 2011, the title of producer is presently held by Bryan Lasseter. The network version had Catherine Ann Miller, Wendy Roth, and Tiffany Trigg for its supervising producers for its first two seasons, while Michael Binkow held that title for the third and final season. After Rubino's promotion to co-executive producer, the syndicated version's later supervising producers included Rich Sirop (2004–09), Geena Gintzig (2009–10), Brent Burnette (2010–12), and Geoff Rosen (2012–present). The original network version of Millionaire was directed by Mark Gentile (who later served as the syndicated version's consulting producer for its first two seasons), the pre-2010 episodes of the syndicated version were directed by Matthew Cohen, and since the 2010–11 season the show has been directed by Rob George. Associate directors for the syndicated version have included Dawn Kiernan, Brooke Sessions, Annalisa De Meo, Christopher Cullen, and Stacie Saugen.
The original primetime version's writers were Jeff Bumgarner, Ben Gruber, Allison Silverman, and Jack Helmuth. Individuals who have written for the syndicated version over the course of its history have included Robert Patton (the former writing supervisor), Dominique Bruballa, Jonathan Chase, Art Chung, Nate Clark, Doug Gordon, Leigh Hampton, Stan Hsue, Sherri Langsam, David Levinson-Wilk, Jon Morgenthau, Amy Ozols, Craig Rowin, Vincent Rubino, Eben Russell, Sara Schafer, Brenda Schait, Daniel Schofield, Rich Sirop, Andrew Tavani, Danielle Thomson, Adam Tobin, Rena Zager, and Amanda Zucker.
Since its inception, the U.S. Millionaire has been distributed in the United States by Disney-ABC Domestic Television (originally known as Buena Vista Television), a unit of ABC. It retained its association with Disney even after Sony Pictures Entertainment's 2008 acquisition of the show's production company, Dutch-based 2waytraffic (which itself had acquired original production company Celador International two years prior). In addition, the show's sponsor and copyright holder, Valleycrest Productions, Ltd., is owned by DADT, and thus also has Disney for its ultimate corporate parent.
When the U.S. version of Millionaire was first conceived in 1998, Michael Davies was a young television producer who was serving as the head of ABC's little-noticed reality programming division (at a time when reality television had not yet become a phenomenon in America). At that time, ABC was in last place in the ratings indexes among U.S. broadcast networks, and the popularity of the game show genre was at an all-time nadir. Having earlier created Debt for Lifetime Television and participated with Al Burton and Donnie Brainard in the creation of Win Ben Stein's Money for Comedy Central, Davies decided to create a primetime game show that would save the network from collapse and revive interest in game shows. He heard about the development of the British Millionaire, got his family to record the show, and subsequently ended up receiving about eight FedEx packages from different family members, each containing a copy of Millionaire's first episode. Davies was so captivated by everything that he had seen and heard, from host Chris Tarrant's intimate involvement with the contestant to the show's lighting system and music tracks, that he chose to consider the idea of introducing the hit quiz show to American airwaves, convinced that it would become extraordinarily popular.
When Davies presented his ideas for the U.S. Millionaire to ABC, the network's executives initially rejected them, so he resigned his position there and became an independent producer. Determined to bring his idea for the show to fruition, Davies decided that he was betting his whole career on Millionaire's production, and the first move that he made was planning to attach a celebrity host to the show. Several personalities were considered for hosting positions on the U.S. Millionaire during its development, such as Bob Costas, Phil Donahue, and Peter Jennings, before Philbin was ultimately chosen to be the show's host. When Davies approached ABC again after having hired Philbin, the network finally agreed to accept the U.S. Millionaire. With production now ready to begin, the team had only five months to finish developing the show and get it launched, with Davies demanding perfection in every element of Millionaire's production.
With few exceptions, any resident of the United States who is 18 years of age or older has the potential of being a contestant on the show. Those ineligible include employees and family members of The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries (including DADT and Valleycrest Productions), 2waytraffic, Sony (which owns the Millionaire franchise), television stations that broadcast the program, and any advertising agency or other firm or entity engaged in the production, administration, or judging of Millionaire. Also ineligible are current candidates for political office and individuals who have appeared on a different game show (outside of cable) within the past year, on three such shows within the past ten years, or on any of the U.S. versions of Millionaire itself.
Potential contestants of the original primetime version had to compete in a telephone contest which had them dial a toll-free number and answer three questions by putting objects or events in order. Callers had ten seconds to enter the order on a keypad, with any incorrect answer ending the game/call. The 10,000–20,000 candidates who answered all three questions correctly were selected into a random drawing in which approximately 300 contestants would compete for ten spots on the show using the same phone quiz method. Accommodations for contestants outside the New York City area included round trip airfare (or other transportation) and hotel accommodations.
The syndicated version's potential contestants, depending on touring tryouts or tryouts held at ABC's New York studio center, are required to pass an electronically scored quiz comprising thirty questions which must be completed in ten minutes. Contestants who pass the general knowledge test are then interviewed by the production staff, and those who impress the production staff the most are then taken for a videotape interview. Later, they are sent a postcard in the mail stating whether they are in a pool of potential contestants, who by the producers' discretion are sent to New York to participate in their tapings. Unlike its ABC counterpart, the syndicated version does not offer accommodations to contestants at the production company's expense.
Originally, the show retained the musical score from the British version, composed by father-and-son duo Keith and Matthew Strachan. The music cues later ended up being rearranged for the clock format in 2008, and then removed altogether for the introduction of the shuffle format in 2010, in favor of a new musical score with cues written by Jeff Lippencott and Mark T. Williams.
Unlike most older game shows whose sets are or were designed to make the contestant(s) feel at ease, Millionaire's set was originally designed to make the contestant feel uncomfortable – in fact, the set's design makes it feel more like a movie thriller than a typical quiz show. The floor is made of Plexiglas beneath which lies a huge dish covered in mirror paper, and the Hot Seat measured three feet high and was modeled after chairs typically found in hair salons.
The lighting system is programmed to darken the set as the contestant progresses further into the game. There are also spotlights situated at the bottom of the set area that zoom down on the contestant when they answer a major question; to increase the visibility of the light beams emitted by such spotlights, oil is vaporized, creating a haze effect. Dr. Robert Thompson, a professor at Syracuse University, stated that the show's lighting system made the contestant feel as though they were outside of prison when an escape was in progress.
In September 2012, the redesigned version of the set was improved with a modernized look and feel, in order to take into account the show's transition to high-definition broadcasting, which had just come about the previous year. The two video screens were replaced with two larger ones, having twice as many projectors as the previous screens had. The previous contestant podium was replaced with a new one, and light-emitting diode (LED) technology was integrated into the lighting system to give the lights more vivid colors and the set and gameplay experience a more intimate feel.
The U.S. version of Millionaire was launched by ABC as an hour-long primetime program on August 16, 1999. The network version, whose episodes were originally shown only a day after their taping in New York City, became explosively popular in 2000 and at its peak was airing in the primetime five nights a week on ABC. The show was so popular during its original primetime run that rival networks created or re-incarnated game shows of their own (e.g., Greed, Twenty One, etc.), as well as importing various game shows of British and Australian origin to America (such as Winning Lines, Weakest Link, and It's Your Chance of a Lifetime).
The nighttime version initially drew in up to 30 million viewers a day three times a week, an unheard-of number in modern network television. In the 1999–2000 season, it averaged #1 in the ratings against all other television shows, with 28,848,000 viewers. In the next season (2000–01), three nights out of the five weekly episodes placed in the top 10. However, the show's ratings began to fall during the 2000–01 season, so that at the start of the 2001–02 season, the ratings were only a fraction of what they had been one year before, and by season's end, the show was no longer even ranked among the top 20. ABC's reliance on the show's popularity led the network to fall quickly from its former spot as the nation's most watched network.
As ABC's overexposure of the primetime Millionaire led the public to tire of the show, there was speculation that the show would not survive beyond the 2001-02 season. The staff planned on switching it to a format that would emphasize comedy more than the game and feature a host other than Philbin, but in the end, the primetime show was cancelled on June 27, 2002.
ABC has occasionally brought back the show for specials, including 2004's Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire, which raised the top prize to $10,000,000, and another in 2009 which celebrated the show's tenth anniversary.
In 2001, the Millionaire production team proposed the development of a new half-hour syndicated version, which would premiere on September 16, 2002. This new version was conceived under the assumption that the primetime show would still air on ABC, but that edition was cancelled a few months before the syndicated version's debut. This series almost followed its network predecessor off the air, however, due in part to worries based on one affiliate's decisionmaking regarding the show.
WCBS-TV, the New York-based flagship of the CBS network, picked up the syndicated Millionaire and placed it on its fall schedule at 4:00 pm weekday afternoons. After airing the first sixty-five episodes and seeing little to no improvement in the ratings, WCBS announced that it would not continue to air Millionaire beyond the first season if it was to be renewed and that the station would begin airing The People's Court at 4:00 pm starting that fall in place of Millionaire and a 4:30 pm newscast. This led to speculation that the show's future was in doubt, so BVT executives tried to get WCBS to move Millionaire. BVT suggested the station use its Prime Time Access slot at 7:30 pm, which at the time was occupied by Hollywood Squares, to air Millionaire. Since this would require the displacement of either Hollywood Squares or Entertainment Tonight to another less desirable timeslot, WCBS passed on the idea and BVT was left with no choice but to look elsewhere for a New York affiliate.
At the time this was going on, a shakeup in the daytime schedule was going on at BVT's corporate sibling ABC. The network announced that it would be giving the 12:30 pm network timeslot back to its affiliates when Port Charles, a low-rated soap opera that had been airing in that timeslot since 1997, aired its final episode in October 2003. This meant that the network's flagship, WABC-TV, was in need of something to fill that slot and BVT went to them to see if they would pick up Millionaire. WABC not only agreed to do so but elected not to wait until Port Charles ended its run and began airing Millionaire at 12:30 pm when the second season debuted in September 2003, and has carried the program in that timeslot ever since. (It should be noted that WABC did keep Port Charles on its schedule but moved it to a late-night airing for the remaining month of its run.)
GSN acquired the rerun rights to the U.S. Millionaire in August 2003. The network initially aired only episodes from the three seasons of the original prime-time run, but additional episodes were later added, including the Super Millionaire spin-off, which aired on GSN from 2005 through 2007, and the first two seasons of the syndicated version, which the network aired from November 10, 2008 through January 3, 2011.
Eleven contestants have answered the final question correctly and won the top prize (nine on the ABC version, two on the syndicated version). An additional two contestants won $1,000,000 without answering all fifteen questions: Robert "Bob-O" Essig on Super Millionaire, and Sam Murray in the Tournament of 10. Only one contestant, Ken Basin, has answered the $1,000,000 question incorrectly.
Seven contestants correctly answered all 15 questions and won the top prize of $1,000,000 on the ABC version. Two contestants won more than $1,000,000 during a period in which the top prize grew by $10,000 on each episode until the top prize was won. A tenth contestant, Robert Essig, won $1,000,000 after answering the twelfth question during the original Super Millionaire series of episodes, but did not reach the final question for $10,000,000.
- John Carpenter (November 19, 1999)
- Dan Blonsky (January 18, 2000)
- Joe Trela (March 23, 2000)
- Bob House (June 13, 2000)
- Kim Hunt (July 6, 2000)
- David Goodman (July 11, 2000)
- Kevin Olmstead (April 10, 2001; $2.18 million jackpot)
- Bernie Cullen (April 15, 2001)
- Ed Toutant (September 7, 2001; $1.86 million jackpot)
- Robert Essig (February 23, 2004; answered 12 questions correctly on Super Millionaire)
Two contestants on the syndicated version have correctly answered all 15 questions and won the top prize of $1,000,000. During the Million Dollar Tournament of 10, Sam Murray, who had previously supplied correct responses for eleven questions, risked his winnings on a special $1,000,000 question.
- Kevin Smith (February 18, 2003)
- Nancy Christy (May 8, 2003; the first woman to win the $1,000,000)
- Sam Murray (November 11, 2009; only contestant to correctly answer his question during the Million Dollar Tournament of 10)
Various special editions and tournaments have been conducted which feature celebrities playing the game and donating winnings to charities of their choice. During celebrity editions, contestants were allowed to receive help from their fellow players during the first ten questions. Among those individuals who competed in celebrity events on the original ABC version were Sean "Diddy" Combs, Queen Latifah, and Ben Stiller; the most successful celebrity contestants were Drew Carey, Rosie O'Donnell, and Norm MacDonald, all of whom won $500,000 for their respective charities.
There have also been special weeks featuring two or three family members or couples competing as a team, a "Champions Edition" where former big winners returned and split their winnings with their favorite charities, a "Zero Dollar Winner Edition" featuring contestants who previously missed one of the first-tier questions and left with nothing, and a "Tax-Free Edition" in which H&R Block calculated the taxes of winnings to allow contestants to earn stated winnings after taxes, and various theme weeks featuring college students, teachers, brides-to-be, etc. as contestants. Additionally, the syndicated version once featured an annual "Walk In & Win Week" with contestants who were randomly selected from the audience without having to take the audition test.
Special weeks have also included shows featuring questions concerning specific topics, such as professional football, celebrity gossip, movies, and pop culture. During a week of episodes in November 2007, to celebrate the 1,000th episode of the syndicated Millionaire, all contestants that week started with $1,000 so that they could not leave empty-handed, and only had to answer ten questions to win $1,000,000. During that week, twenty home viewers per day also won $1,000 each.
By January 2001, no contestant had won $1 million in the 71 shows that aired over a period of five months. The top prize was then changed from a flat $1 million to an accumulating jackpot that increased by $10,000 for each episode the top prize was not won. $710,000 was initially added to the jackpot for the previous 71 shows that produced no millionaire.
On April 10, 2001, Kevin Olmstead answered the final question correctly and won $2.18 million, making him the biggest winner in television history at the time. The top prize for answering the final question correctly returned to $1 million following Olmstead's win and has remained unchanged since. After Ed Toutant's initial appearance, in which he answered a $16,000 question containing an error, he was invited back for a second attempt to answer all 15 questions for $1.86 million, the jackpot at the time of his original appearance. Toutant completed the task and won the jackpot; his episode aired September 7, 2001.
Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire
In 2004, Philbin returned to host 12 episodes of a spin-off program titled Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire in which contestants could potentially win $10,000,000. ABC aired five episodes of this spin-off during the week of February 22, 2004, and an additional seven episodes later that year in May.
As usual, the contestants were to answer a series of 15 multiple choice questions of increasing difficulty, but the dollar values were substantially increased. The payout structure of Super Millionaire was as follows:
|Question number||Question value|
Contestants were given the standard three lifelines in place at the time (50/50, Ask the Audience, and Phone-a-Friend) at the beginning of the game. However, after correctly answering the $100,000 question, the contestant earned two additional lifelines: Three Wise Men and Double Dip. The Three Wise Men lifeline involved a panel of three experts, one of whom was always a former Millionaire contestant and at least one of whom was female. When this lifeline was used, the contestant and panel had thirty seconds to discuss the question and choices before the audio and video feeds were dropped.
In September 2008, four and one-quarter years after Super Millionaire ended, the Double Dip lifeline replaced 50/50 as part of a new format introduced on the syndicated version. In addition, Switch the Question was also eliminated from the show and replaced with Ask the Expert, a modification of Super Millionaire's Three Wise Men lifeline that used one expert instead of three.
Super Millionaire produced only one million dollar winner, Robert "Bob-O" Essig, in February 2004. He answered 12 questions to win $1,000,000, but left the game before reaching the $10,000,000 top prize.
10th Anniversary Celebration
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Millionaire's U.S. debut, the show returned to ABC primetime for an eleven-night event hosted by Philbin, which aired from August 9–23, 2009. The Academy Award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire and the 2008 economic crisis helped boost interest of renewal of the game show.
The episodes featured game play based on the previous rule set of the syndicated version (including the rule changes implemented in season seven) but used the Fastest Finger round to select contestants. Various celebrity guests (among them Lauren Conrad, Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry, Patricia Heaton, and Shawn Johnson) also made special guest appearances at the end of every episode; each guest would play one question for a chance at $50,000 for a charity of their choice, being allowed to use any one of the four lifelines in place at the time (Phone-a-Friend, Ask the Audience, Double Dip, and Ask the Expert), but would still earn a minimum of $25,000 for the charity if they answered the question incorrectly.
The finale of the tenth anniversary special, which aired on Sunday, August 23, 2009, featured Ken Basin, an entertainment lawyer, Harvard Law graduate, and former Jeopardy! contestant, who went on to become the first contestant to play a $1,000,000 question in the "clock format" era. Basin was given a question involving President Lyndon Baines Johnson's fondness for Fresca. Using his one remaining lifeline, Basin asked the audience, which supported his own hunch of Yoo-hoo rather than the correct answer. He decided to answer the question and lost $475,000, the first and so far only time in the U.S. version that a $1,000,000 question was answered incorrectly.
The day after the finale’s broadcast, Basin posted an entry in his blog about his experience in the show, including why he went for Yoo-hoo. He explains that he remembers seeing a photo of Johnson meeting The Beatles and drinking from a bottle of Yoo-hoo, a photo which he has not been able to find since.
Other than Basin, the largest winner from this series was Nik Bonaddio, who took home $100,000 in the fourth episode. Bonaddio used the money to start numberFire, a sports analytics company.
Million Dollar Tournament of Ten
Although the syndicated Millionaire had produced two millionaires in Kevin Smith and Nancy Christy in its first season, Christy's May 2003 win had stood as the last when the program began its eighth season in fall of 2009. Deciding that six-plus years had been too long since someone had won the top prize, the producers decided to conduct a tournament to find a third million dollar winner. For the first nine weeks of the 2009–10 season, each episode saw contestants attempt to qualify for what was referred to as the Tournament of Ten. Contestants were seeded based on how much money they had won, with the biggest winner ranked first and the lowest ranked tenth. Ties were broken based on how much time a contestant had banked when they had walked away from the game. If two contestants banked the same amount of time, the next tiebreaker was how long it took a contestant to answer the question.
On November 9, 2009, the Tournament of Ten kicked off. The qualifiers and their seeds were as follows:
- Jehan Shamsid-Dean, #1 seed (won $250,000)
- Keilani Goggins, #2 seed (won $100,000)
- Jeff Birt, #3 seed (won $100,000)
- Matt Schultz, #4 seed (won $100,000)
- Tim Janus, #5 seed (won $100,000)
- Ralph Cambeis, #6 seed (won $50,000)
- Robin Schwartz, #7 seed (won $50,000)
- Sam Murray, #8 seed (won $50,000)
- Tony Westmoreland, #9 seed (won $50,000)
- Alex Ortiz, #10 seed (won $50,000)
Playing in order from lowest to highest seed, the tournament contestants played one at a time at the end of the next ten episodes. The players would face a $1 million question without any lifelines, and as in normal play would have their winnings reduced to $25,000 if they chose to answer the question and did so incorrectly. The million dollar question was played in the same manner as it would be if someone had reached it in regular play: the contestants would receive 45 base seconds, whatever time they had banked before walking away was added to that, and they had to make a decision whether to answer or walk before the clock ran out.
A correct answer put a player at the top of the tournament leaderboard and guaranteed that said player would not lose his/her previous winnings. In order to win the $1 million prize, the player would have to not only answer the question correctly but also have the remaining players either answer incorrectly or fail to attempt their question. If one of the remaining players did answer correctly, that player supplanted the previous player as the tournament leader. At the end of the tournament, on November 20, 2009, the highest remaining seed that had correctly answered their question would be awarded the $1 million top prize.
The first two contestants, Alex Ortiz and Tony Westmoreland, both elected to pass on their questions. On November 11, 2009 Sam Murray, the last player to qualify for the tournament having won his $50,000 prize the week before, was given a question asking approximately how many people throughout history had lived on the planet Earth. Murray decided to answer it and correctly guessed 100 billion, moving him into the tournament lead. For the next two episodes of that week and the five that followed, Murray returned along with the remaining contestants to see if someone would answer their question correctly and take over as tournament leader. When the November 20, 2009 show came around, the only person remaining who could do so was top-seeded Jehan Shamsid-Dean. Her million dollar question asked her to identify what the Blorenge, cited as a rare example of a word that rhymed with orange, was. Although Shamsid-Dean considered taking the risk, believing— correctly, as it turned out— that the Blorenge was a mountain in Wales, she elected to keep her original $250,000 prize. Thus, being the only person to answer a tournament question correctly, Murray became the show's first million-dollar winner in six years. 
Since its introduction to the United States, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has been credited with not only single-handedly reviving the game show genre, but also breaking new ground for it. It revolutionized the look and feel of game shows with its unique lighting system, dramatic music cues, and futuristic set. It became one of the highest-rated and most popular game shows in the history of American television, and is credited by some with paving the way for the phenomenon of reality programming. The U.S. Millionaire also made catchphrases out of various lines used on the show; in particular, "Is that your final answer?", asked by Millionaire's hosts whenever a contestant's answer needs to be verified, was popularized by Philbin during his tenure as host.
The original primetime version of the U.S. Millionaire won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show in 2000 and 2001. Philbin was honored with a Daytime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host in 2001, while Vieira received one in 2005, and another in 2009. In 2001, TV Guide ranked the U.S. Millionaire #7 on its list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time. In mid 2006, GSN ranked Millionaire #5 on its list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time, and in the winter of 2007, it honored the show on its first, and so far only, Gameshow Hall of Fame special. In 2013, TV Guide ranked it #6 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows of all time.
Several video games based on the varying gameplay formats of Millionaire have been released throughout the course of the show's U.S. history.
Between 1999 and 2001, Jellyvision produced five video game adaptations based upon the original primetime series for personal computers and Sony's PlayStation console, all of them featuring Philbin's likeness and voice. The first of these adaptations was published by Disney Interactive, while the later four were published by Buena Vista Interactive which had just been spun off from DI when it reestablished itself in attempts to diversify its portfolio. Of the five games, three featured general trivia questions, one was sports-themed, and another was a "Kids Edition" featuring easier questions.
In 2008, Imagination Games released a DVD version of the show, based on the 2004–08 format and coming complete with Vieira's likeness and voice, as well as a quiz book and a 2009 desktop calendar.
Two Millionaire video games released by Ludia have been offered on the show as prizes to audience contestants. The first, a game for Nintendo's Wii console based on the 2008–10 clock format, was offered on the show during the 2009–10 season, and the second, on Microsoft's Xbox 360, was based on the newer shuffle format and offered on the show during the next season (2010–11).
Ludia has also created a Facebook game based on Millionaire, which debuted on March 21, 2011. This game features an altered version of the shuffle format, condensing the number of questions to twelve—eight in Round 1, and four in Round 2. A player can compete against eight other Millionaire fans in Round 1, and play Round 2 alone if they make it into the top three. There is no "final answer" rule; the player's responses are automatically locked in. Answering a question correctly earns a player the value of that question, multiplied by the number of people who responded incorrectly. Players are allowed to use two of their Facebook friends as Jump the Question lifelines in Round 1, and to use the Ask the Audience lifeline in Round 2 to invite up to 50 such friends of theirs to answer a question for a portion of the prize money of the current question.
Disney Parks attraction
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – Play It! was a former attraction at the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park (when it was known as Disney-MGM Studios) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California.
The game was very similar to the television program that inspired it—when a show started, a "Fastest Finger" question was given, and the audience was asked to put the four answers in order; the person with the fastest time was the first contestant in the Hot Seat for that show. However, the main game had some differences: for example, contestants competed for points rather than dollars, the questions were set to time limits, and the Phone-a-Friend lifeline became Phone a Complete Stranger which would connect the contestant to a Disney cast member outside the attraction's theater who would find a guest to help. After the contestant's game was over, they would be awarded anything from a collectible pin, to clothing, to a Millionaire CD game, to a 3-night Disney Cruise.
Notes and references
- "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". Gameshow Hall of Fame. GSN. January 21, 2007.
- "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Syndicated Version original rules". Valleycrest Productions, Ltd. and Buena Vista Television. June 28, 2002. Archived from the original on July 5, 2002.
- "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire official rules - revision from August 23, 2011". dadt.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Weprin, Alex (April 22, 2009). "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Returning To ABC". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Kicks Off Coast to Coast Bus Tour". BusinessWire. July 23, 2002. Retrieved January 19, 2012. "The weekday version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, featuring Meredith Vieira as host, premieres on Monday, September 16 in nationwide syndication."
- Stelter, Brian (January 11, 2013). "Vieira to leave "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"". The New York Times Media Decoder.
- "Cedric the Entertainer Will Host "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," Replace Meredith Vieira". The Huffington Post. March 20, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (Bebruary 7, 2013). "Cedric The Entertainer To Succeed Meredith Vieira As Host Of Syndicated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". Deadline Hollywood.
- Fretts, Bruce (June 17, 2013). "Eyes on the Prize", TV Guide, pp. 14 and 15.
- "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire primetime on WCHS-TV8". wchstv.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire [TV Series] (2002)". blockbuster.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "popculturelounge.com". Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Kicks Off Seventh Season by Introducing New Changes to the Game, Creating New Levels of Excitement, Emotional Drama and Heart-Pounding Tension for Both Viewers and Contestants". The Futon Critic. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- Game Show Forum (August 31, 2009). "WWTBAM doing their own "Million Dollar Mission"". Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- Miller, Trisha (October 22, 2009). ""Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" to Add Celebrity Questions". Reuters.
- "The New Season of "Millionaire" is a Real Game-Changer". Disney-ABC Domestic Television. August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- Davis, Alex (November 21, 2011). ""Millionaire" Holds a "Double Your Money" Week Starting Today". BuzzerBlog. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- "The New Season of "Millionaire" is a Real Game-changer". Disney-ABC Domestic Television. August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "America Online and Buena Vista Television Break New Ground by Expanding 'Ask the Audience' Lifeline beyond the 'Millionaire' Studio via Instant Messaging". Business Wire. August 23, 2004. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- Davis, Alex (August 31, 2012). "Exclusive: "Millionaire" Adds "Crystal Ball" Lifeline for Halloween Week". BuzzerBlog. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "Season 8, Episode 66". Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Disney-ABC Domestic Television. January 11, 2010. Syndicated. "Vieira: For the sake of the audience here [in the studio] and the audience at home, there has been a slight change in gameplay that I want to explain to you folks. On the board, we no longer have Phone-a-Friend as a lifeline. Now, I want to explain to you why. Technology has changed, as you know, over the years and we feel that it has compromised the integrity of that lifeline and the [original] intent [thereof], because often when a contestant calls somebody, a friend at home, who do they get? They get Mr. Internet, and we feel that it isn't fair that some people have access to a computer and some don't, because the game is really not about that; it's about what's inside somebody's head."
- Phil Wolff (1 January 2009). "Skype product placement: Who Wants to be a Millionaire (US)". skypejournal.com. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
- "Who Wants to Host "Millionaire"? Apparently Not Rosie O'Donnell". The Hollywood Reporter. June 4, 2001.
- Andreeva, Nellie (January 10, 2013). "Meredith Vieira Leaving Syndicated "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
- ""Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" Rings in the New Year with "Cruise In and Win Week," January 7-11, 2013!". The Futon Critic. January 3, 2013.
- "'Switch the Question' Added as New Lifeline on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'". August 24, 2004. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- Information regarding the identities of producers, directors, and writers named in this section is sourced from end credits lists of appropriate Millionaire episodes.
- "Sony buys Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? parent". mcvuk.com. March 13, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- "2waytraffic wants to be 'Millionaire'". backstage.com. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- Loveday, Samantha (December 1, 2006). "New owners take on Celador International and Millionaire brand". toynews-online.biz. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Valleycrest Productions on PowerProfiles.com
- According to the Nielsen Media Research top-rated programs list for the 1998–99 season, the highest rated television shows of that time were ER, Friends, and Frasier, all on NBC. Meanwhile, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and The Price Is Right were the only very well-known game shows on national TV at the time, with Price being the only then-current game show still airing in daytime.
- To qualify for 2004's Super Millionaire spin-off, potential contestants were required to answer five questions. Each person who successfully answered all five questions chose one tape date, and the contestants for that tape date were drawn from that pool.
- "Be a Contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire". about.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Claudia Perry (Wednesday, March 28, 2007). "Who wants to be a game-show contestant?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
- Nordyke, Kimberly (September 10, 2012). "Anderson Live, Wendy Williams, Rachael Ray Among Syndicated Shows Getting Set Makeovers (Photos)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- Bauder, David (August 4, 2009). ""ABC Hopes "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" Lightning Can Strike Twice"". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
- "TV Ratings 1999-2000". fbibler.chez.com. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- "TV Ratings 2000–2001". fbibler.chez.com. Retrieved March 2, 2010.
- "TV Ratings 2001-2002". fbibler.chez.com. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- Bill Carter (November 29, 2001). "ABC's Millionaire May Not Survive Beyond the Current Season". The New York Times.
- "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: ABC Game Show Returning to primetime". tvseriesfinale.com. April 22, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2010.
- Lyons, Margaret (April 22, 2009). "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire returning for its 10th anniversary: Yay (final answer)!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- "Millionaire poorer in N.Y.". The Hollywood Reporter. September 2, 2003.
- "Millionaire nabs key slots in syndication". The Hollywood Reporter. September 2, 2003.
- Steve Brennan (September 23, 2003). "GSN Wins "Millionaire" Rerun Rights". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Davis, Alex (October 17, 2008). "GSN Acquires Syndicated "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" with Meredith Vieira". BuzzerBlog. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- "Interview: Kevin Olmstead, mega-Millionaire". Trivia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Toutant was originally ruled to have answered his $16,000 question incorrectly on January 31, 2001. It was later discovered that there was a mistake in that question, and he won a $1.86 million jackpot when he was invited back.
- "Sam Murray Wins the Million in the WWTBAM Tournament of Ten". about.com. 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Purcell, Chris (August 17, 2008). "‘Millionaire’ Gets Refreshed". Retrieved August 20, 2008.
- "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Returns With A Hollywood Makeover". AccessHollywood.com. Retrieved March 2, 2010.
- Ken Basin (August 24, 2009). "Official postmortem". kbasin.blogspot.com, Personal blog of Ken Basin. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
- "Season 8, Episode 1". Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Disney-ABC Domestic Television. September 7, 2009. Syndicated.
- Hollywood.com "Meredith Vieira biography". www.hollywood.com. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
- "TV Guide Names the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time". Hall of Game Show Fame.
- The rules of the Facebook game are sourced from the following page: "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire on Facebook". Ludia. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
- Marx, Jennifer and Dave (last updated December 29, 2006). "Who Wants to Be a Winner? Passport Tips for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - Play It!". PassPorter.com.
- Official website
- Original online game
- Video-based game
- 10th Anniversary Play-at-home game rules
- 2008 Millionaire graphics package
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (US – 1999–2002) at the Internet Movie Database
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire at TV.com
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (US – current) at the Internet Movie Database
- Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire (US) at the Internet Movie Database
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|Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show