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ABC to bring Regis and $10,000,000 'Super Millionaire' back for February sweeps period


By Reality TV World staff, 01/27/2004 

Desperate for ratings, the ABC Television Network announced yesterday that it will be bringing a $10,000,000 Super Millionaire version of the network's previously cancelled Who Wants To Be a Millionaire series back for the February sweeps period.

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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. As he did with the original primetime ABC hit of several years ago, Regis Philbin will return to host the series.

"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," said Lloyd Braun, Chairman, ABC Entertainment Television Group. " We think this is the time."

On the televised show, ten finalists will compete against each other in the Fastest Finger Round to answer one question. The winner then attempts to navigate 15 multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty on a broad range of topics, for cash prizes up to $10 million. The questions increase in dollar value from $1,000 to $10 million. Contestants get to see each question before deciding whether or not to advance. Contestants can choose to walk away at any time with what they’ve won so far. But, if they have the courage to go for it, they could become instant multi-millionaires.

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 Michael Davies, for Diplomatic Television.

Airdates for Super Millionaire are as follows:

Sunday, February 22 9:00 – 10:00 p.m., ET
Monday, February 23 10:00 – 11:00 p.m., ET
Tuesday, February 24 10:00 – 11:00 p.m., ET
Thursday, February 26 10:00 – 11:00 p.m., ET
Friday, February 27 10:00 – 11:00 p.m., ET

Details for how people from across the country can qualify to participate in "Super Millionaire" will be announced at a later date.

Michael Davies, Super Millionaire executive producer 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."

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, hosted by Meredith Vieira, currently airs in syndication across the U.S. Since its syndication debut in 2002, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire has shown tremendous success. The show continues to achieve extraordinary growth in its second season in syndication, up 32 percent over last year's household ratings, which tops all other first-run strips.

Millionaire’s growth is even stronger in the women 25-54 demographic, posting a 36 percent increase over last year. In the most recent week (January 5-11, 2004), the show achieved an all-time high, delivering a 4.1 household rating and a 2.3 rating among women 25-54. Millionaire also has shown year-to-year growth in all three major daypart time periods including daytime (up 33 percent), early fringe (up 11 percent), and access (up 43 percent).

Super Millionaire is produced by Valleycrest Productions, Ltd. Michael Davies and Paul Smith are executive producers.

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