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Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 16:37 GMT
US TV dusts off Mastermind
TV classic: Magnus Magnusson presented Mastermind for 25 years
US TV network ABC is importing the classic British quiz show Mastermind in an attempt to continue the ratings success of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

The BBC axed the original version of the long-running programme in 1997, but ABC is already working on a series to be screened this summer.

US ratings success: Regis Philbin fires the questions
The US version of Who Wants To Be A Milllionaire? - hosted by chat show host Regis Philbin - is currently the country's most-watched programme in the with an average of 29 million viewers.

Rival networks have attemped to jump on the bandwagon.

Earlier this month, NBC entered the game show arena with a remake of its 1950s hit, Twenty-One, CBS is battling with another UK import, Winning Lines, while Fox has a Millionaire copycat, Greed.

Millionaire's executive producer Michael Davies is working on the US version of Mastermind for ABC.

National institution

The show, presented by Magnus Magnusson, ran for 25 years in the UK.

With its famous black chair, Magnusson's "I've started so I'll finish" catchphrase and its memorable theme tune - Approaching Menace - it became a national institution.

It is thought the leather chair and the imposing lighting will remain, while US chat show host Phil Donahue is being tipped for the role of grand inquisitor.

The quiz will also follow the old against-the-clock format. In round one the contestants will answer questions on a specialist subject. General knowledge questions are the order of the day in round two.

The BBC dropped the series when its ratings began to fall and the very last programme was filmed in 1997 on the Scottish island of Orkney. Magnusson now owns the black chair.

See also:

20 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million
18 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Millionaire cash-in for US TV
31 Aug 99 | Scotland
Magnusson's 'shame' at driving ban
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