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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
UK quiz shows dropped in US
Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin presents the US Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Quiz shows Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and The Weakest Link have lost their primetime spots on United States television.

Millionaire has been dropped by the ABC network because of poor ratings and is only likely to return in specials.

And The Weakest Link is missing from rival network NBC's new schedule, again because of falling ratings.

Anne Robinson
Anne Robinson hosts The Weakest Link in the UK and US
The initial successes of the UK quiz shows in the US had been heralded as the start if a new era.

Hosted by US chat show host Regis Philbin, Millionaire topped US ratings with 10 million viewers when it was first aired there in 1999.

It was hoped it could increase viewing figures to be in line with the UK show, which peaked at an audience of 19 million.

Dramatic drop

US contestants were said to be well suited to the format of the show - where 15 questions are asked on the way to a $1m (690,000) prize - because they took more risks than UK contestants.

But despite winning an Emmy award, the quiz show has been left off the autumn schedule as ABC attempts to increase ratings.

The dramatic drop in viewers for Millionaire was identified as a key element in the network's slump.

Both the show and host Regis Philbin are likely to return in special events.

Change

These will run for several nights in a row, as was the case when the show started.

Executive producer Michael Davies is understood to have favoured the change.

The Weakest Link and its presenter Anne Robinson transferred from BBC television to NBC with a big fanfare in 2001.

The show attracted audiences of up to 17.5 million viewers at its peak - but ratings have dropped to an average of nine million viewers, with recent editions scoring as low as seven million.

It was not included in the autumn schedule - but network executives said it may come back to primetime next season.

See also:

28 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
US Millionaire show faces court date
16 May 01 | TV and Radio
ABC halves showings of Millionaire
18 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Millionaire cash-in for US TV
22 Oct 01 | New Media
Millionaire and Link top toy charts
22 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
Weakest Link 'threatened' in US
18 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Weakest Link wins US ratings battle
20 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Millionaire tops Arab ratings
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