BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  Entertainment
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Wednesday, 18 August, 1999, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Millionaire cash-in for US TV
Chris Tarrant: Praised for his "menacing" performance
Quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire has been a hit with US viewers on its American debut - hitting the highest ratings of any series this summer.

The programme, which has been an enormous hit for ITV in the UK, made its debut on the ABC network on Monday evening in the US.

According to overnight figures quoted in industry newspaper Daily Variety, the show attracted just under 10 million viewers, easily beating off competition from other networks.

The US version of the show is identical to the British original, hosted by Chris Tarrant. Contestants win increasing amounts of money by answering 15 multiple-choice questions of varying difficulty, with a top prize of $1m.

Praise from critics

The ABC programme is hosted by talk show host Regis Philbin, already one of US TV's most famous faces for his daytime talk show Live! With Regis And Kathie Lee.

ABC executives are hoping the programme's performance will mirror its UK success, where it quickly built up a huge audience - reaching nearly 19 million in March.

Like ITV, ABC is running the show nightly for two weeks rather than as a weekly series.

But the show's contestants did not fare as well - the first night's biggest winner won just $4,000.

The show won praise from New York Times reviewer Ron Wertheimer, but he thought homely Regis Philbin was too much of a "nice guy" compared with the "menacing" Chris Tarrant.

"Everything Mr Tarrant does and says is calculated to rattle the contest and keep the viewer's heart palpitating in time to that relentless music," he wrote, adding that Philbin "may be perfect for his morning talk show, but the man seems constitutionally incapable of torturing people".

One other aspect of the show has not changed - viewers still have to ring a premium-rate phone-line to become contestants on the programme, being filmed over the next two weeks in New York.

See also:

05 Jan 99 | Entertainment
ITV's millionaire windfall
31 May 99 | Entertainment
TV Tarrant in the spotlight
09 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Quiz 'winner' waits for news
30 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Quiz contestants denied winnings
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories