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Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Millionaire goes interactive
Chris Tarrant, host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Viewers will get points for their answers and speed
Viewers of ITV quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? will be able to play the game through their remote controls when it is launched on digital television.

An interactive show will be screened on digital channel ITV2, ITV's sister channel which is broadcast in England and Wales.

Viewers will be able to take part and win prizes without leaving their sofa.

An internet version of the show will also be launched - so the public can play against television contestants and other net users via their computers.

A Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? contestant
Viewers at home will play against TV contestants
For the digital TV version, ITV2 will broadcast the quiz at the same time as it is shown on ITV, with viewers able to register their answers by pressing buttons on their remote control.

They will score points depending on whether they get the answer correct and how quickly they answer. Prizes will go to those with the most points.

Celador Production, which produces the show, says that if there are enough players there is no reason why someone at home should not win 1m.

The information will be sent from a viewer's digital set down their phone line - and the viewer will have to pay for the phone call but there will be no other entry fee.


This will be the first time ITV has fully used the interactive aspect of digital technology, and the network hopes that it will help persuade more people to sign up to the service.

The interactive element will initially only be available via digital terrestrial services - either ONdigital set-top boxes or digital terrestrial TV sets.

ITV aims to introduce it to digital cable and digital satellite "as soon as practicable".

The show will be available on S2 and UTV2, the Scottish and Northern Irish equivalents of ITV2.

ITV has agreed share revenues from the game with Celador, but reports that it paid 10m for the digital rights have been dismissed by the network as "way out".

A spokesperson would not comment on the real figure.


There will also be four Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? games on the internet, with the first launched in April. The ITV website,, will host the games.

One game will be synchronised with the TV show, allowing people on the internet to play head-to-head with contestants in the studio.

Another will allow up to 10 players to compete against each other online.

The online version will feature e-mercials - seven-second online versions of TV ads that contestants must watch before moving on to the next round.

Entry for the internet games will be free.


The digital and internet deals come as it is announced that almost as many households in the UK have digital TV as have internet access.

The annual report of the Independent Television Commission (ITC) says that more than 30% of households have digital TV.

This is compared with the 33% of households which have an internet connection.

The interactive games are being jointly produced by the new media divisions of ITV's two biggest companies, Carlton and Granada - which also jointly own ONdigital.

Granada is closing its G-Wizz internet service this week to enable it to concentrate on developing ITV's website with Carlton.

See also:

18 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Penniless exit from quiz show
15 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Millionaire? cleared of ratings 'fix'
14 Mar 01 | Entertainment
ITV and Sky digital deal closer
04 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
'Millionaire' legal contracts urged
20 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Who wants to see a millionaire?
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