Jimmy Kimmel will host the 20th-anniversary revival of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire on ABC in April. The show will have celebrity contestants competing for money for charity. The episodes will begin airing on April 8th, which will mark the first time that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has aired on ABC since its 10th anniversary revival in 2009. These will be the first new episodes of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire since production on the daytime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ended in May. The rules for this special run will allow the celebrity contestants to invite a guest to help them answer the questions. The new run will be accompanied by the debut of a live play-along app allowing viewers to compete alongside the contestants as the show airs.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was inspired by a British game show format. It originally debuted on ABC in the summer of 1999. Its unusual format helped boost it to high Nielsen rating numbers. It returned the following season as a special event and then became a regular series. At its peak, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire brought in an average of 30 million viewers. The program is estimated to have earned $1 billion for Walt Disney Company in its early days, helped by the sales of two CD-ROMS and merchandise.
Regis Philbin hosted the original series. His use of the phrase “is that your final answer” to confirm with contestants before locking them in on a question remains embedded in the pop-culture consciousness. Who Wants to be a Millionaire quickly became a victim of overexposure. It lasted only three seasons in primetime, with revivals in 2004 and 2009. It has run 17 seasons in syndication, lasting from 2002 to 2019. Hosts of the syndicated version of the show include Meredith Vieira, Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crew, and Chris Harrison.
Kimmel will be an executive producer on the new series, along with Michael Davies and Mike Richards. “Regis came to me in a dream, asked me to do this and promised my own line of neckties if I did. I had little choice but to say yes,” Kimmel said.
“My professional career has been inextricably linked with Jimmy’s since the days of Win Ben Stein’s Money, and he was one of the first-ever celebrity contestants on Millionaire in its original run,” Davies said. “I can’t wait to work with him on this dynamic new version of the show that changed my life and the fortunes of so many who benefitted from and simply loved the game.”
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