New Season of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ to Offer New ‘Tournament of Ten’ Feature

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NEW YORK, Aug. 31  — “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira, is pumping up the excitement for its eighth season by revealing ten consecutive $1-million moments this fall in the all-new Tournament of Ten. Every Millionaire show counts, as the drama unfolds for contestants vying for their spot in the tournament and an opportunity to win $1-million. An all-new season of Millionaire will premiere Monday, September 7. Check local listings or go to www.millionairetv.com.

Tournament of Ten
A new addition for this season, the Tournament of Ten will feature the ten best contestants playing to win the show’s top prize of $1-million. Players earning a spot for the tournament will be seeded, based on how much money they won and how quickly they answered their questions. Starting September 7, viewers at home will be able to keep track of players qualifying for the tournament through a Leader Board that will be updated throughout each episode and daily on www.millionairetv.com.

All ten tournament players will be established by Friday, November 6 and the tournament will begin the following Monday, November 9. Each day November 9 – 20, one of the tournament finalists will look at a $1-million question, beginning with the 10th seeded player. After looking at the question, each contestant has the option of walking away with the money they won on their first appearance or risking it all for a possible $1-million prize.

If they answer correctly, they will be in the running to win the tournament’s $1-million payout. Each person seeded above them however, has the opportunity to knock them out of the tournament if they correctly answer their own $1-million question. The Tournament of Ten will culminate on November 20, after the top-seeded final contestant plays his or her own $1-million question in the hot seat.

10th Anniversary of Millionaire Franchise
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 1999 launch of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” in the U.S. Throughout the last decade, $133-million has been won by hot seat contestants from both the original primetime show and the syndicated show (over $79-million in primetime and $53-million in syndication).

In honor of this milestone anniversary, ABC brought back Regis Philbin to host an 11-episode primetime series this August. Meredith Vieira appeared as a surprise celebrity guest on the final episode of Millionaire, which aired Sunday, August 23. As part of the show, Vieira invited all nine contestants who failed to make it out of the “Fastest Finger” round, to appear as contestants on the weekday version of the show, where they will start off directly in the hot seat! These nine ‘crossover contestants’ will appear in syndicated episodes airing September 7-14.

Notable Millionaire “Experts” Booked for September & October:
During the week of September 7 – 11, contestants will be able to ask famed former Millionaire contestant John Carpenter for assistance on any question past the $1,000 level. Carpenter will sit in as the featured “Expert” for the “Ask The Expert” lifeline and will be available via a face-to-face video call to help contestants in need. Carpenter was the very first Millionaire contestant to win the top prize on the game show (’99). In one of the most memorable Millionaire moments to-date, Carpenter used his “Phone A Friend” lifeline on the $1-million question to call his father, only to inform him that he “didn’t really need his help,” but wanted to let him know that he was going to win $1-million.

Other notable Millionaire “Experts” booked for September and October include Alexandra Wentworth (September 14-18), Ashleigh Banfield (September 21-25), Mo Rocca (September 28 — October 2), Robin Meade (October 5-7), Rene Syler (October 8 & 9), Cokie Roberts (October 12-16) and Ken Jennings (October 19-23).

Improvements that were made to the Millionaire format last season will continue this year, including a “Clock on the Questions” (:15 seconds for first five questions, :30 for next five and :45 for the last five questions) and the “Category Menu” (contestants and home viewers get a sneak peak at the question categories coming up on the show). Contestants start off in the hot seat with three lifelines (“Phone A Friend,” “Double Dip” and “Ask The Audience”) and once they correctly answer the $1,000 question, they are given a fourth lifeline, “Ask The Expert.” What has never changed is that Millionaire remains the only game show in the history of television where regular Americans from all over the country can win $1-million by simply answering fifteen questions.

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