Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In its format, currently owned and licensed by Sony Pictures Televisioncontestants tackle a series of multiple-choice questions to win large cash prizes, with the format being a twist on the game show genre — only one contestant plays at a time, similar to radio quizzes; contestants are given the question before attempting an answer, and have no time limit to answer questions; and Safe millionaire club amount offered increases as they tackle questions that become increasingly difficult.
The maximum cash prize offered in most versions of the format is one million of the local currency. The original British version debuted on 4 Septemberand was aired until its final episode on 11 February ; a revived series of seven episodes to commemorate its 20th anniversary inwere aired from 5 to 11 May. Since its debut, international variants of the game show have been aired in around countries worldwide.
The format of the show was created by David Briggs, Mike Whitehill and Steven Knight, who had earlier created a Safe millionaire club of the promotional games for Tarrant's morning show on Capital FM radio, such as the bong game. Tentatively known as Cash Mountain the show took its finalised title from a song written by Cole Porter for the film High Societystarring by Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm.
In Marchoriginal producer Celador announced that it was seeking to sell the worldwide rights to Millionairetogether with the rest of its British programme library, as the first phase of a sell-off of the company's format and production divisions. The idea to transform the UK programme into a global franchise was conceived by British television producer Paul Smith. He laid out a series of rules that the international variants in the franchise were to follow: Millionaire and all of Celador's other programmes were ultimately acquired by Dutch company 2waytraffic.
A group of contestants on each episode play a preliminary round called "Fastest Finger First". All are given a question by the host and four answers which must be placed within a particular order; in the original version and pre episodes of the Australian version, contestants have to simply answer a multiple-choice question.
If any contestants are visually impaired, the host reads the question and four choices all at once, then repeats the choices after the music for this round begins. The contestant who not only answers correctly, but in the time, goes on to play the main game. In the event that no one gets the question right, another question Safe millionaire club given; if two or more contestants answer correctly but with the same time, they are given a tie-breaker amongst them to determine who will move on.
This round is only used when a new contestant is being chosen to play the main round, and can be played more than once in an episode amongst Safe millionaire club remaining within Safe millionaire club group seeking to play the main game. In celebrity editions, the round is not used; celebrities automatically take part in the main game. Once a contestant enters the main game, they are asked increasingly difficult general knowledge questions by the host.
Each features four possible answers, in which the contestant must give the correct answer. Doing so wins them a certain amount of money, with tackling much tougher questions increasing their prize fund. During their game, the player has a set of lifelines that they may use only once to help them with a question, as well as two "safety nets" — if a contestant gets a question wrong, but had reached a designated cash value during their game, they will leave with that amount as their prize.
While the first few questions are generally easy, subsequent Safe millionaire club after them will prompt the host to ask if the answer they gave is their "final answer" — if it is, then it is locked in and cannot be changed. If a contestant feels unsure about an answer, and does not wish "Safe millionaire club" play on, they can walk away with the money they have won, to which the host will ask them to confirm this as their final decision; in such cases, the host will usually ask them to state what answer they would have gone for, and reveal if it would have been correct or incorrect.
During the British original, between andthe show's format focused on Safe millionaire club questions. Afterthe format was changed, reducing the number of questions to twelve; the overall change in format was later incorporated into a number of international versions over a period of four years, including the Arab, Bulgarian, Dutch, French, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish versions. An American syndication of the game show was conceived after the British original proved successful, debuting in The only difference between it and the British version was that episodes were halved in length — 30 minutes, as opposed to the minute length of the original version.
The change meant that the preliminary round of the show was eliminated, and contestants "Safe millionaire club" to pass a more conventional game show qualification test. Exceptions to this arrangement, in which it Safe millionaire club used under the name "Fastest Finger" included: The decision to remove this round would later occur in other international versions, including the British original.
Inthe U. The limit varied depending on the difficulty of the question: Time for each question began counting down immediately after a question was given and its answers revealed, but Safe millionaire club temporarily paused when a lifeline was used.
If a contestant exceeded the time limit, they were forced to walk away with any prize money they had won up to that point. Any time not used in these questions was banked for use in the final question. This format change was later adopted into other international versions — the British original, for example, adopted this change for episodes on 3 August On 13 Septemberthe U.
In this change, the game featured two rounds. As such, the difficulty of the question in this round, is 'not' tied to the value associated to it, and a contestant does not know what amount they won unless they provide a correct answer, or choose to walk away. The format was later modified for the fourteenth season of the US version, but retained the same arrangement for the last four questions.
Inthe so-called "shuffle format" was scrapped and the show returned to a version that closely resembled the original format. Other notable formats used in international variations of the show, and used subsequently in other versions, included:. During a standard play of the game, a contestant is given a series of lifelines to aid them with difficult questions.
In the standard format, a contestant has access to three lifelines — the contents can use each only once per game, but can use more than one on a single question. The standard lifelines used in the original format of the game show include. In the US version, some lifelines used corporate sponsorship.
From tothe US version of "Ask the Audience" was sponsored by AOLwhich allowed users of its Instant Messenger to add the screen name MillionaireIM to their contact list and receive an instant message with the question and the four possible answers, to which the users replied with their choices.
In some countries which aired live editions of the programme, anyone nominated to be used for "Phone a Friend" were informed to be prepared for when they are alerted to their friend playing the game, and required to have their phone free and wait for three rings before answering.
When the contestant calls one of their friends, the friend appears onscreen and both the contestant and friend can see and hear each other. During the course of the game show's history, there were a number of unique lifeline additions in various versions of the programme:. Out of all contestants that have played the game, few have been able to win the top prize on any international version of the show. The first was John Carpenterwho won the top prize on the U.
Carpenter did not use a lifeline until the final question, using his Phone-a-Friend not for help but to call his father to tell him he had won the million.