Variety has exclusively learned that the long running prime time show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, has reached its final chapter. To date, it has aired about three thousand episodes in its broadcast history, including the additional three hundred that aired during its run on ABC.
An interesting choice to make, after the twentieth anniversary specials were aired — in fact, just fairly recently in 2018 — right after ITV picked Jeremy Clarkson as the show’s official new host with a ten-episode order. “After a successful 17-year run, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire will not return in national syndication for the 2019-20 season,” a show spokesperson said in an official announcement.
Originally airing on the ABC network in 1999 — before shifting to syndication in 2002 — the show would showcase different individual contestants, who answered multiple choice questions of increasing difficulty. After each correct answer, contestants potentially earn an increasing amount of prize money, eventually winning the titular $1 million prize.
The same format currently is licensed by Sony Pictures Television, and featured in its mother series of the same name that was created by David Briggs, Mike Whitehill and Steven Knight. Contestants on both iterations have the option of using a variety of three different lifelines during the game if they find themselves confused.
The original was hosted by Regis Philbin and became a huge cultural phenomenon by its popularization of the phrase, “Is that your final answer?” After going into syndication during 2013, Meredith Vieira took over as host despite the increase in several celebrity guest stars and appearances, such as: Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews, and Chris Harrison.
Valleycrest Productions Ltd. produces the series, while Disney ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution take on distribution duties. James Rowley executive produces, while tapings take place at Caesars Entertainment Studios in Las Vegas, Nevada.