Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is out of lifelines, it seems. The syndicated quiz show has been cancelled after a 20-year run that began on ABC, our sister site Variety is reporting.
The show debuted in August 1999 in ABC’s primetime lineup, hosted by Regis Philbin, and quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, rocketing to the top of the ratings (it averaged more than 28 million total viewers in its first full season) and eventually expanding to air five nights a week (!) on the network. But the phenomenon quickly fizzled out, and the series moved from ABC to syndication in 2002, hosted by Meredith Vieira. She was later succeeded by Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews and The Bachelor host Chris Harrison, who has emceed Millionaire since 2015.
“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 tells Variety.
Millionaire — which featured contestants answering multiple-choice trivia questions, aided by a number of “lifelines,” in pursuit of a million-dollar prize — was incredibly influential in the game show genre, spawning a host of imitators that copied its cerebral tone and dramatic lighting. It also made the host’s usual phrase, “Is that your final answer?” into a pop-culture touchstone.
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