It was truly a game-changer, if only for a brief period of time. Ten years ago this month ABC put on a game show, in primetime, hosted by Regis Philbin, called "Who Wants to Be a Milliionaire." For a brief time it totally engaged the viewing habits of milions of Americans, and briefly changed the fortunes of ABC.
The syndicated version still runs primarily in daytime, hosted by Meredith Vierra.
But, starting this Sunday, Aug. 9th, new episodes will be on again in primetime, again with Regis hosting.
There are a couple of wonderful accounts of what happened during the show’s original primetime run–and what Regis and the producers are looking for this time around. One is a New York Times piece by Bill Carter. The other is the Associated Press feature by David Bauder.
One amusing anecdote told by Regis: On the old show there was no time limit placed on the contestants to answer the questions; there will be a time limit on the new version that airs for 11 nights starting Sunday.
Having no time limit wasn’t really a problem when the show aired, because the show was edited to look as if the questions we answered almost immediately.
But at times it drove Regis and the studio audience crazy. Regis says one woman once took 52 minutes to answer a question, "and she got it wrong."