ABC's 'Super Millionaire' to return for May Sweeps period
By Reality TV World staff, 02/28/2004
In a move that surprised no one who had been paying attention, the struggling ABC network announced Friday that Super Millionaire the super charged version of the original Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hit series that aired as a February Sweeps "event," will return for the upcoming May Sweeps period. Regis Philbin will return as host of the program.
Super Millionaire's return to ABC's primetime schedule on Sunday, February 22, drew an average audience of 17.5 million viewers to rank as the most-watched television program that night as well as ABC's most watched program of the entire week. The premiere also delivered the largest audience and highest young adult ratings for the Millionaire franchise since May 2001.
On each of its first four telecasts, Super Millionaire was ABC's No. 1 show of the night among viewers and young adults. Versus ABC's delivery this season with entertainment programming in the time periods, Super Millionaire was up by 5.2 million total viewers (14.3 million vs. 9.1 million), by 34% among Adults 18-49 (4.7/11 vs. 3.5/9) and by 54% among Adults 18-34 (4.0/11 vs. 2.6/7). On average, Super Millionaire built on its lead-in by over 4 million viewers and gained audience during the course of its telecast.
"With Super Millionaire, the Millionaire franchise is an event again," said executive producer Michael Davies. "This is how this show was designed to be scheduled, and it's how it works best. Regis has been amazing, and we're both delighted with the early pick-up. Neither of us can wait until May."
In Super Millionaire, contestants from across the country attempt to navigate 15 multiple-choice questions for cash, but this time the stakes are higher -- much higher. The dollar value of the first question is $1,000 and the prizes quickly escalate from there, with the final question worth $10,000,000.
During the first four episodes of the series this month, contestants have won $1.795 million, and there were two big winners -- Todd Kim, an attorney from Washington, D.C., walked away with $500,000, and Robert Essig, a computer specialist of Ashtabula, OH, won $1 million.
Super Millionaire is produced by Valleycrest Productions, Ltd. Michael Davies and Paul Smith are executive producers. Co-executive producers are Leigh Hampton and Vincent Rubino.