[01/26/04 - 12:00 AM]
ABC Revives 'Millionaire' for February Sweeps
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- ABC is resurrecting its once white-hot "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" franchise for February sweeps, as the network announced over the weekend a special week-long event entitled "Super Millionaire."

"Super Millionaire" will kick off on Sunday, February 22 at 9:00/8:00c with subsequent installments on Monday, February 23; Tuesday, February 24; Thursday, February 26; and Friday, February 27 (all at 10:00/9:00c). Here's how ABC describes the event (via press release):

As with the original, primetime version, contestants from across the country will attempt to navigate 15 multiple-choice questions for cash, but this time the stakes are higher�much higher. The dollar value of the easiest question starts at $1,000, and quickly escalates from there, with the final question worth $10,000,000. In addition to the 3 lifelines so familiar to millions of Americans, "Super Millionaire" will add new lifelines at a certain level of the game. At that point, the game will "morph" into a new dimension, and the stakes and tension will be at levels never seen before on network television. Regis Philbin will host and Michael Davies will executive produce. Celador, the UK company which created "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," has overseen the development of the new format. Paul Smith, managing director of Celador Productions, will continue to executive produce alongside Mr. Davies, for Diplomatic Television.

"For months, we have been carefully monitoring the environment to determine if the time is right for a new, totally amped up version of Millionaire � broadcast in its original, event-like form," ABC topper Lloyd Braun said in the release. "We think this is the time."

Executive producer Michael Davies added, "Celador's Millionaire is perhaps the greatest game show format ever devised - a global phenomenon, beloved by its fans, it has been an enormous hit all over the world. In the US, Regis Philbin made this the most successful prime time game show of all time, and now, Meredith Vieira hosts a fantastically successful, five day a week version of the game. With its new lifelines, music, graphics and zeros, "Super Millionaire" will take the format to a whole new level. We are currently gearing up for the tremendous demand we expect from regular Americans wanting their chance at the $10 million top prize. And Regis is back - let's call this installment, The Return Of The King."

  [january 2004]  


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