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Sunday, 21 November, 1999, 03:47 GMT
Taxman scoops a million
John Carpenter didn't use any of his "lifelines"
An American tax office worker has won the largest one-off game show prize in the history of American television - $1 million.

It just seemed to be my night

John Carpenter
John Carpenter, 31, became a millionaire by winning the hit television show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

He is the first top prize winner of the quiz which is shown on television in 10 countries. But his triumphant performance will not be screened in the US until Saturday night.

Mr Carpenter from Connecticut says he plans to use his winnings to improve his home and go on holiday with his wife.

No lifelines

During his two appearances on the show, Mr Carpenter correctly answered 14 questions one after the other.

Which of these US presidents appeared on the television series Laugh-In?
A: Lyndon Johnson
B: Richard Nixon
C: Jimmy Carter
D: Gerald Ford
Then came the final question ...

The answer was ... Richard Nixon, and Mr Carpenter knew it.

And he hit the jackpot without using any of his three "lifelines" - ask the audience, phone a friend or 50-50.

Quizzed by reporters outside his home in Hamden, Mr Carpenter said: "How do you think I feel? Pretty good ..."

Global smash

The TV show, which originated in Britain, has been a massive international success.

In Britain it has achieved ratings of 18 million viewers.

Rights for copying the show have been sold to broadcasters in the US, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Russia and Australia.

The US television network ABC bought the show and was rewarded with huge ratings for its first run in August.

The US show is presented by TV veteran Regis Philbin, while the UK version is fronted by broadcaster Chris Tarrant.

The highest amount won in the UK was earlier this year when father-of-four Jonathan Green, won 250,000 after correctly answering 13 multiple-choice questions.

The BBC's Robert Nisbet
"There are suggestions that ABC was under pressure to award $1m"
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
26 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Who wants a UK quiz show?
15 Mar 99 | Entertainment
ITV ratings soar with new schedule
05 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Dinosaur saga is monster hit
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