[07/27/09 - 10:50 AM]
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary
The Alphabet details the event's participants and "Ask the Expert" lifelines.

[via press release from ABC]


Regis and "Millionaire" are back in ABC primetime! Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the smash hit "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" comes back to ABC this summer for a special two-week event. "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" premieres SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) and will air for 11 nights, Sunday-Thursday at 8:00 p.m., with the finale on SUNDAY, AUGUST 23 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET).

ABC's 10th Anniversary edition of "Millionaire" will celebrate everything that viewers loved about the original, combined with the major improvements to the gameplay after seven successful years in syndication. In addition, as a brand new feature of the return of primetime "Millionaire," every episode will culminate with a celebrity playing one question for $50,000 to benefit their charity of choice. The lineup of celebrity players will be announced at a later date.

From Daytime "Millionaire's" Emmy nominations on the eve of its eighth season launch to the Oscar-winning phenomenon "Slumdog Millionaire," it has been a banner year for the "Millionaire" pop culture juggernaut. To date, there have been 1,285 episodes of the syndicated version, and before it went off the air in 2002, the primetime edition saw 363 episodes, including "Super Millionaire" in 2004. Over $132 million has been won by contestants over the decade ($79 million in primetime; $53 million in syndication). In primetime, celebrity players won $13.5 million for their favorite charities.

The 10th Anniversary edition will continue many of the strongest elements of the original show, along with some of the more recent modifications to the format that were streamlined over the show's lifespan in syndication. For example, the "Fastest Finger" element will return, and the lifelines will include perennial favorites "Ask the Audience," "Phone a Friend" and also "Double Dip" (which originated during "Super Millionaire"). Imported from the Meredith Vieira-hosted daytime version will be the new lifeline, "Ask the Expert," and substantially faster gameplay, featuring time limits on every question. The stellar lineup of Experts for the 10th anniversary run includes:

� ABC News' George Stephanopoulos

� ABC News' Sam Donaldson

� ABC News' Cokie Roberts

� NPR's Mo Rocca

� Wolf Blitzer (CNN's "The Situation Room")

� Activist and radio host Rev. Al Sharpton

� Bestselling author Jodi Picoult

� Bill Nye, the Science Guy

� Journalist, newscaster and author Gwen Ifill

� Journalist Connie Chung

� Game show legend Ken Jennings

Here is a lineup of the returning contestants who will visit (but not compete) during the 10th anniversary run:

Sunday, August 9

Note: Much of the studio audience is comprised of former contestants

Robert Essig, Ashtabula, OH � nicknamed Bob-O by his mother-in-law, won $1 million

Joe Trela, Gilroy, CA � third contestant to win $1 million

Ed Toutant, Austin, TX � won $1.86 million escalating jackpot

Monday, August 10

Robby Roseman, Las Vegas, NV � first person to lose on the first question, winning nothing

Tuesday, August 11

Kevin Olmstead, Ann Arbor, MI � the show's biggest winner; won the escalating jackpot totaling $2.18 million

Wednesday, August 12

Jason Block, Brooklyn, NY � one of the show's most memorable contestants; won $125,000

Thursday, August 13

No former contestants this night

Sunday, August 16

John Carpenter, Hamden, CT & dad � the series' first-ever contestant to win $1 million; phoned his dad on the last question for his "Phone a Friend," just to inform him he knew the answer and was about to win $1 million

Monday, August 17

Brian Fodera, Los Angeles, CA � second person to get the first question wrong, winning nothing

Tuesday, August 18

Doug Van Gundy, Elkins, WV � West Virginia fiddler won $250,000 in 1999 which, at that time, was the largest amount of money won in a single network game show appearance

Wednesday, August 19

Dan Doody, Seattle, WA � nicknamed "Doody" by Regis, he won $1,000

Thursday August 20

No former contestants this night

Sunday, August 23

Nancy Christy, Tulsa, OK � first woman to win $1 million on the show (happened on syndicated version)

What has never changed is that "Millionaire" remains the only game show in the history of television where regular Americans from all over the country can win one million dollars by simply answering fifteen questions. "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" is produced by Valleycrest Productions Ltd. Michael Davies is executive producer. For more information on this show, go to www.abc.com.

  [july 2009]  


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