Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (sometimes informally called Millionaire) is an American television quiz show based upon the British program of the same title, which offers a maximum prize of $1,000,000 for correctly answering a series of consecutive multiple choice questions. Originally, as in the UK edition, contestants were required to correctly answer fifteen questions of increasing difficulty; however, in 2010, the format was modified so that the contestants are now faced with fourteen questions of random difficulty. The program follows the same general premise as its original UK counterpart, and is one of many international variants in the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise.
The original U.S. version aired on ABC from August 16, 1999 to June 27, 2002, and was hosted by Regis Philbin. The current syndicated version of the show began airing on September 16, 2002, and was launched by Meredith Vieira, who remained host for eleven seasons, with her final first-run episode airing on May 31, 2013. Cedric the Entertainer was chosen to be the new host, with his first episode airing on September 2, 2013. In late April 2014, after production for season twelve had ceased, Cedric announced that he was not returning for a second season. Terry Crews was chosen to replace Cedric and his first episode as host aired September 8, 2014.
As the first U.S. network game show to offer a million-dollar top prize, the show made television history by becoming one of the highest-rated game shows in the history of American television. The U.S. Millionaire has gone on to win seven Daytime Emmy Awards, and TV Guide and Game Show Network (GSN) have ranked it #7 and #5 on their respective lists of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time. In 2013, TV Guide ranked it #6 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.
Whose Line? Connections
- The Millionaire Show on Whose Line? is a parody of this game show for starters.
- Greg Proops was a brief recurring guest expert on the show.
- Kathy Griffin was a celebrity question presenter
- In 2014, Chip Esten appeared as a celebrity contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and won $500,000 for his charity, tying him with previous contestants Rosie O'Donnell, Drew Carey, and Norm MacDonald for the most money won by a celebrity in one appearance on the show.
- Drew Carey announced that he was submitting his earnings from the show to charity.
- Other celebrity contestants included: Charlie Sheen, Jerry Springer and Laila Ali.