A show that helped trigger the resurgence of game shows and reality TV in the early 2000s continues to thrive in syndication, announcing plans this week for its 16th season.
“Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” returns with all-new shows with the premiere of its 16th season in national syndication on Monday, Sept. 11. Originating from Caesars Entertainment Studios in Las Vegas, “Millionaire” touts itself as the country’s richest game show, noting that it’s the only program to offer a $1 million prize all contestants.
The show is hosted by Chris Harrison.
“In the show’s classic format, contestants must answer 14 trivia questions correctly with the aid of three lifelines — Ask the Audience, Plus One and 50/50 — to win $1 million,” the show notes in today’s announcement. “Contestants also can win big as they navigate their way up the ladder, as the tension and difficulty build with each question, along with the prize money. Since the show debuted in syndication in 2002, contestants have won more than $95 million.”
The show will be bringing back specialty weeks during the upcoming season — “Whiz Kids,” “Victories for Veterans” and others.
“In addition, several celebrities will appear as contestants on ‘Millionaire’ during the season, playing for their favorite charitable organizations,” the announcement notes. “Among those confirmed are actress Sherri Shepherd, actor/comedian Rob Riggle, chef Curtis Stone, ‘The Bachelor’ Ben Higgins, ‘General Hospital’ stars Laura Wright and Donnell Turner, and actor/’Entertainment Tonight’ correspondent Cameron Mathison, as well as Las Vegas staples Wayne Newton, Penn & Teller and Piff the Magic Dragon.”
New specialty week to be featured during the 2017-2018 season include “Beginner’s Luck,” featuring contestants who are experiencing Las Vegas for the first time; and “Happy Couples,” in which engaged duos team up to win money for their impending nuptials.
The announcement notes that during the 2016-17 season, “Millionaire” delivered the largest average growth among all first-run syndicated game shows, with double-digit increases in Homes, Total Viewers and Women 25-54.
The original U.S. version of “Millionaire” debuted on ABC back in 1999, launching a run of three seasons on the broadcast network and reigniting interest among the broadcast networks in game shows and reality TV. “Millionaire” delivered massive ratings early in its network run, and at the height of its popularity was airing five nights a week on ABC.