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Who wants to be a millionaire

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Who wants to be a millionaire

This article is about the general, international franchise. For the original UK version, see Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK game show). For the U.S. version, see Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (U.S. game show).
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Current title card for the UK version, as of 2010
Genre Game show franchise
Created by David Briggs
Steve Knight
Mike Whitehill
Country of origin United Kingdom
Running time 30–120 minutes (depending on the version)
Production companies Celador (1998-2007)
2waytraffic (2007-present)
Sony Pictures Television (2008-present)
Original run 4 September 1998 (1998-09-04) – present
External links
Official UK version website

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (sometimes informally known as Millionaire, and abbreviated WWTBAM) is an international television game show franchise of British origin, created in 1998 by David Briggs, Mike Whitehill, and Steven Knight. In its format, currently owned and licensed by Sony Pictures Television, large cash prizes are offered for correctly answering a series of multiple-choice questions of increasing (or, in some cases, random) difficulty. The maximum cash prize (in the original British version) is one million pounds. Most international versions offer a top prize of one million units of the local currency; the actual value of the prize obviously varies widely, depending on the value of the currency.

The original British version of the show debuted on September 4, 1998, and airs on ITV with Chris Tarrant as its host. The show's format is a surprising twist on the game show genre—only one contestant plays at a time (similar to some radio quizzes), and the emphasis is on suspense rather than speed. In most versions there are no time limits to answer the questions, and contestants are given the question before they must decide whether to attempt an answer.

In 2000, a board game based on Millionaire was released by Pressman Toy Corporation. In March 2006, original producer Celador announced that it was seeking to sell the worldwide rights to the show, together with the rest of its British program library, as the first phase of a sell-off of the company's format and production divisions. Millionaire and all of Celador's other programs were ultimately acquired by Dutch company 2waytraffic. Two years later, Sony Pictures Entertainment purchased 2waytraffic for £137.5m.[1] Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is the most internationally popular television franchise of all time, having aired in more than 100 countries worldwide.[2]


The format of the show was devised by David Briggs, who, along with Steven Knight and Mike Whitehill, devised a number of the promotional games for Chris Tarrant's breakfast show on Capital FM radio, such as the bong game. The original working title for the show was Cash Mountain. The original British version, hosted by Tarrant, debuted on the ITV network on September 4, 1998.

The game has similarities with the 1950s show The $64,000 Question. In that show, the money won roughly doubled with each question; if a wrong answer was given, the money was lost. Contestants would win a new car as a consolation prize if they had reached the $8,000 question. In 1999-2000, the US version of Millionaire was the first primetime game show since The $64,000 Question to finish first in the season-ending Nielsen ratings.

In the 1990s, the U.S. Millionaire's future executive producer, Michael Davies, attempted to revive the long-lost U.S. game show The $64,000 Question for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as The $640,000 Question, before abandoning that effort in favor of adapting Millionaire to America.

The title of the show is derived from a song of the same title, written by Cole Porter for the 1956 film High Society, in which it was sung by Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm.

Disputed claims of creation

Since the original version launched, several individuals have claimed that they originated the format and that Celador had breached their copyright.

Sponsored by the Daily Mail, Mike Bull, a Southampton-based journalist, took Celador to the High Court in March 2002, claiming authorship of the lifelines. Celador settled out of court with a confidentiality clause.

In 2003 Sydney resident John J. Leonard also claimed to have originated a format substantially similar to that of Millionaire, but without the concept of lifelines. To date, he has been unable to raise the minimum £250,000 required for a non-UK resident to finance legal action against Celador in the High Court. In an effort to finance his case, he wrote and published a book titled Millionaire!!, a detailed account of how he created the show.[3][4]

In 2004 Alan Melville sued ITV over a similar claim. He claimed that it had used the opening phrase "Who wants to be a millionaire?" from his ideas for a game show based on the lottery, called Millionaires' Row, for which he had sent his documents to Granada Television. ITV counter-claimed, and the parties reached an out-of-court agreement/settlement.

In 2002, John Bachini started a claim against Celador, ITV, and five individuals who claimed that they had created Millionaire. Bachini claimed they had used ideas from his 1982 board game format, a two-page TV format concept known as Millionaire dating from 1990, and the telephone mechanics from another of his concepts, BT Lottery, also dating from 1990. Bachini submitted his documents to Paul Smith, from a sister company of Celador's, in March 1995 and again in January 1996, and to Claudia Rosencrantz of ITV in January 1996. Bachini claimed that they used 90% of his Millionaire format, which contained all of the same procedures as the actual British Millionaire's pilot: twenty questions, three lifelines, two safe havens (£1,000 and £32,000), and even starting from £1.00. Bachini's lifelines were known by different names; he never claimed he coined the phrase phone-a-friend, but Tim Boone and Mike Bull claimed they did. Celador claimed the franchise originated from a format known as The Cash Mountain, a five-page document created by either Jo Sandilands or her husband David Briggs in October 1995. The defendants brought Bachini to a summary hearing. The defendants lost and Bachini won the right to go to trial. Due to serious illness, Bachini could not continue at trial, so Celador reached an out-of-court settlement with Bachini.[5]

Gameplay rules

Original format

The contestants must first play a preliminary round, called "Fastest Finger First" (or, in the U.S. version, simply "Fastest Finger"), where they are all given a question and four answers from the host and are asked to put those four answers into a particular order; in the first series of the British version and in pre-2003 episodes of the Australian version, the round instead required the contestants to answer one multiple-choice question correctly as quickly as possible. The contestant who does so correctly and in the fastest time goes on to sit in a chair in the center of the set, known as the "Hot Seat," and play for the maximum possible prize (often a million units of the local currency). In the event that two or more contestants are tied for the fastest time, those contestants play another question to break the tie. If no one gets the question right, that question is thrown out and another question is played in the same manner. If any contestants are visually impaired, the host reads the question and four choices all at once, then repeats the choices after the music begins.

The round was eliminated from the U.S. Millionaire when the show moved to syndicated distribution in 2002; however, it would return whenever the primetime show was brought back for specials. The American version's contestants are currently required to pass a more conventional game show qualification test at auditions.

Once in the Hot Seat, the contestant is asked increasingly difficult general knowledge questions by the host. Questions are multiple choice: four possible answers are given (labeled A, B, C, and D), and the contestant must choose the correct one. Upon answering a question correctly, the contestant wins a certain amount of money. In most versions, there is no time limit to answer a question; a contestant may (and often does) take as long as they need to ponder an answer. After the first few questions, the host will ask the contestant if that is their "final answer." When a contestant says "final" in conjunction with one of the answers, it is official, and cannot be changed. The first five questions usually omit this rule, unless the contestant has guessed a wrong answer (at which point, the host is hoping the contestant will take the hint), because the questions are generally so easy that requiring a final answer would significantly slow the game down; thus, there are five chances for the contestant to leave with no money if they were to provide a wrong answer before obtaining the first guaranteed amount; going for 1,000 units of currency after winning 500 units is the last point in the game at which a contestant can still leave empty-handed.

Subsequent questions are played for increasingly large sums, roughly doubling at each turn. The first few questions often have some joke answers. Below is the complete sequence of prizes for episodes of the UK version aired between 1998 and 2007:

  • £100
  • £200
  • £300
  • £500
  • £1,000
  • £2,000
  • £4,000
  • £8,000
  • £16,000
  • £32,000
  • £64,000
  • £125,000
  • £250,000
  • £500,000
  • £1,000,000

After viewing a question, the contestant can leave the game with the money already won rather than attempting an answer. If the contestant answers a question incorrectly, then all of their winnings are lost, except that the £1,000 and £32,000 prizes are guaranteed: if a player gets a question wrong above these levels, then the prize drops to the previous guaranteed prize. Answering the £2,000 and £64,000 questions wrong does not reduce the prize money. The prizes are generally non-cumulative; for example, answering the £500 question gives the contestant £500, not the previous £300 plus £500 (i.e. £800).

The game ends when the contestant answers a question incorrectly, decides not to answer a question, or answers all questions correctly. On the UK version, Tarrant usually rips the check for £500,000 apart when a contestant wins the top prize of £1 million.

New formats and variations

Several international versions of Millionaire have recently changed or modified their respective formats. Note that with the exception of the Hot Seat format, all of the named format variants are not officially called so, and are only named after the significant change (12 question format for only having 12 questions in a game for example) for reference and comparison reasons.

11-question format

From 18 April 1999 to summer 2000, the Australian version had 11 questions, and answering the first question correctly would guarantee the contestant A$1,000, no matter what happened thereafter. During this time, the show also used the following money tree:

  • $1,000
  • $2,000
  • $4,000
  • $8,000
  • $16,000
  • $32,000
  • $64,000
  • $125,000
  • $250,000
  • $500,000
  • $1,000,000

Elimination of Fastest Finger First

When the U.S. Millionaire's syndicated version debuted in 2002, the Fastest Finger round was eliminated for the reduced episode length (30 minutes as opposed to the previous primetime version's length of 60 minutes). Thus, contestants immediately take the Hot Seat, each of them called in after their predecessors' games end. However, when the U.S. Millionaire show revived its primetime version for specials, it would also restore the Fastest Finger round; this was done in 2004 for the Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire series that raised the top prize to $10,000,000, as well as in August 2009 for an eleven-night special that celebrated the U.S. version's tenth anniversary.

After the U.S. version eliminated its Fastest Finger round, other versions followed suit by eliminating their respective Fastest Finger First rounds. The Australian, New Zealand, and Italian versions eliminated their Fastest Finger First rounds in 2007; the Hungarian version in 2009; the British version in 2010; the Bulgarian, Armenian, Philippine, and Turkish versions in 2011, and the Colombian version in 2013. Also, Fastest Finger First is eliminated in some versions for special events wherein celebrities play for charity (such as the British, Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, French, Philippine, Polish, and Russian versions).

12-question format

On August 13, 2007, it was announced that the UK version was changing its format, reducing the number of questions that a contestant must answer in order to reach the £1 million jackpot. The prize fund started at £500 rather than £100, and the total number of questions was reduced from 15 to 12. After reaching £1,000, the prize fund increases to £2,000, £5,000, £10,000, £20,000 and £50,000, which is the second safe haven, previously £32,000.

  • £500
  • £1,000
  • £2,000
  • £5,000
  • £10,000
  • £20,000
  • £50,000
  • £75,000
  • £150,000
  • £250,000
  • £500,000
  • £1,000,000

The first set of contestants to face the new rules were comedians Jon Culshaw and John Thomson in a charity special, aired on August 18, 2007.[6] The show returned on Saturday, June 13, 2009 on ITV1 at 7.30pm with a new episode after a long absence since January 31, 2009, and by that time, the British version of the show had come to suffer its longest drought of winners, not having a top prize winner since Ingram Wilcox in 2006.

The 12-question format was subsequently carried over to a number of international versions, including the Arab version (January 2010), the Bulgarian version (January 2008), the Dutch version (March 2011), the French version (April 2009), the Polish version (January 2008), the Spanish version (2009), and the Turkish version (August 2011).

The first contestant to win the top prize in a 12-question format was Mohammad Hamzeh, on an episode of the Arab version aired on March 23, 2010. Five days later, Krzysztof Wójcik also won the top prize on the Polish version, becoming that version's first top prize winner after a decade-long waiting period.[7]

16-question format

In 2007, before adopting the "Hot Seat competition" format, the Australian version slightly modified the normal format to add an additional bonus 16th question, worth A$5 million. The Thai version also used this format before switching to the 12-question format.

Risk format

In 2007, the German version modified its format, so that contestants would be allowed to choose the option of playing in a variant called the Risikovariante ("Risk Mode"), which includes an extra lifeline called the Zusatzjoker, in which one of the audience can stand up and give an answer to the contestant. However, if the contestant chooses to play this variant, the tenth-question safe haven is forfeited. This means that if the contestant answers any of questions 11–15 incorrectly, they drop all the way to the guaranteed winnings gained by answering question 5 correctly. If the contestant just chooses to the play the Klassische Variante ("Classic/Normal Mode"), they keep the second safe haven but are given only three lifelines. Actually almost every contestant has since chosen the risk mode because the fourth lifeline is almost always right. Yet, there has only one contestant been that became millionaire with the risk mode. However, Germany's three most recent celebrity top prize winners, Oliver Pocher, Thomas Gottschalk, and Barbara Schöneberger, used Risk Mode to win the million.

The risk format was also adopted by the Austrian version (but with Double Dip as additional lifeline; September 2007), the Hungarian version (January 2008—September 2009), the Polish version (March 2010), the Russian version (September 2010), the Swiss version (November 2011), the Venezuelan version (2009, with "Audience Speaks" as the fourth lifeline), and the Philippine version (2013, with "Double Dip as the fourth lifeline).

The Polish version also implements the 12-question format for both modes and contestants are given Switch the Question as the fourth lifeline.

The Russian format gives "Double Dip" as the fourth lifeline, and contestants are given the ability to place the milestone to any level on the money tree as this wish before beginning gameplay. The "milestone change" is not available if the contestant chooses the normal format.[8]

Clock format

In 2008, the U.S. version changed its format so that contestants were required to answer questions within a time limit each of 15 seconds for questions 1–5, 30 seconds for questions 6-10, and 45 seconds for questions 11-14. After each of the 14 questions have been answered correctly, the remaining time after giving an answer was banked for the million-dollar question. The clock for each question began counting down immediately after all of the question was revealed, and was temporarily paused when a lifeline was used. Contestants who exceeded the time limit were forced to walk away with any prize money they had won up to that point. The only exception to this rule is if the Double Dip lifeline was used; if the clock expired before a second final answer was given, the contestant's winnings were reduced to the previous safe haven level.

When the clock format was implemented, the questions were assigned to categories, and the 50/50 and Switch the Question lifelines were replaced with Double Dip and Ask the Expert, Ask The Expert being available after the contestant reached $1000. Later changes included an adjustment to the money tree, the removal of Phone-a-Friend, and allowing the contestant to use Ask the Expert from the start.

For a period in November 2009, the U.S. show also had a one-off event called the Million Dollar Tournament of 10 in response to the show's lack of a top-prize winner since Nancy Christy in 2003. The winner of the tournament was Sam Murray, who became the first person to win the top prize of US$1 Million with the clock format. The U.S. version ended usage of this format in 2010, switching to the shuffle format.

The Japanese version adopted this format beginning on September 15, 2009. However, that version uses the original three lifelines; the time limits are 30 seconds for questions 1–9, 1 minute for questions 10–12, and 3 minutes for questions 13–15; and unused time is not banked.

The UK version also adopted this format on August 3, 2010; however, it uses the 12-question money tree and the original lifelines, and the final 5 questions do not have a time limit.[9] Contestants also receive a fourth lifeline, "Switch the Question" or "Switch," upon completing question 7 in addition to the clock being turned off. However, during the first 7 questions, if the contestant runs out of time on a question, their winnings will drop back down to the last safe haven they passed as if the question had been answered incorrectly, instead of being forced to walk away.

The Indian version also adopted this format upon its return on October 11, 2010. India's new format was similar to the UK version, except that it had a 13-question money tree, the same lifelines originally used in the U.S. clock format version,[10] and a 30 second time limit for questions 1-2, and 45 seconds for questions 3-7.[11][12]

Similar clock rules and time limits also exist in the Taiwanese version, the former theme park attraction Play It!, computer and video game adaptations of the show, and the "Hot Seat" format (see below). The former Australian version had no true time limit; however, in 2007, a 60-second shot clock went into effect if the player took too long to answer a question (to prevent the possibility of cheating on a question). If time expired, the contestant was forced to walk away with any money won to that point.

Hot Seat format

In 2009, the Norwegian version tried out a new format, essentially involving 6 contestants playing at once, with each taking turns to climb the money tree. The lifelines were removed and replaced with a single "pass" per player that, at any one time, would transfer the onus of answering the question to the next contestant in line, who was unable to re-pass to the next contestant for that question. Also added were time limits on every question, with 15 seconds allocated for the first five questions, 30 for the middle five, and 45 for the last five. In addition, the option of walking away was eliminated, rendering several questions' values pointless, as they cannot be won. Also, if a player fails to give out an answer in the time limit, it is considered an automatic pass. If the question cannot be passed on or if answered incorrectly, that player is eliminated and the highest value on the money tree is removed.

The game ends either when all contestants are eliminated, or when the question for the highest value in the money tree is answered. If this last question is answered correctly, the answering player receives the amount of money. If it is answered incorrectly, or all contestants are eliminated before the final question is reached, the last player to be eliminated receives either nothing, or a smaller prize if the fifth question milestone is reached.

This format was used for the Italian version from December 15, 2008 to March 18, 2009, and has been adopted by the Australian version starting in April 2009, the Danish version starting in October 2009, the Hungarian version starting in September 2009, the Portuguese version starting in July 2010, the Vietnamese version starting on September 7, 2010,[13] the Indonesian version starting on September 13, 2010, the Chilean version since January 2011,[14] the Ukrainian version starting on February 15, 2011, and the Spanish version in 2012.

Starting in 2013, the Colombian version also uses this format exclusively in special celebrity charity episodes.

The first contestant to ever win with this format was Bjørn Lien in the Norwegian version on 19 January 2010.[15]

Shuffle format

Beginning in 2010, the U.S. version ended their usage of the clock format and revised the rules to this new format.[16] The money tree was shortened to 14 questions. For the first 10 questions, the money tree values are randomly shuffled and the exact values for each question are not revealed to the contestant until a final answer is given. If a contestant answers correctly, the value of the question is added to the contestant’s bank. If a contestant does not know the answer, that person can walk away with half of the bank during the first ten questions. However, if a contestant answers a question incorrectly prior to the eleventh question (even if it is the first question), the contestant will only receive $1,000 (in effect, any contestant is guaranteed $1,000 simply for participating on the show, eliminating the possibility of leaving with nothing). Once the contestant answers all ten questions correctly, the contestant will receive the accumulated money of all of the questions they answered correctly (up to $68,600) and the contestant proceeds through the money tree as in earlier formats. Contestants are guaranteed only $25,000 in the U.S. version if any of the last four questions are answered incorrectly.

All the lifelines, with the exception of Ask the Audience, have been removed and replaced with a lifeline called Jump the Question. Contestants receive two opportunities to jump any two of the first thirteen questions at the start of the game.

The set was also modified significantly: the Hot Seat was removed, so that the contestant and host stand and possibly walk around throughout the episode; and the traditional monitors facing the contestant and host were also replaced with monitors around the set.[17][18]


If at any point the contestant is unsure of the answer to a question, he or she can use one or more "lifelines" which provide some form of assistance. After using a lifeline, the contestant can either answer the question, use another lifeline, or walk away and keep the money (although using the Double Dip lifeline removes this final option). With the exception of the 2010 Jump the Question lifeline, each lifeline can only be used once.

In the original format of the show, three lifelines were available to the contestant:

  • 50/50: The contestant asks the host to have the computer randomly eliminate two of the incorrect answer choices, leaving the contestant with a choice between the correct answer and one incorrect one.
    • Originally, in both the first series of the UK version and the original primetime U.S. version, the answers eliminated were not random but were pre-selected as the ones the contestant was least likely to pick. Beginning with the U.S. syndicated version's debut in 2002, two answers were randomly removed when a contestant chose to use the lifeline. This change was also made on the UK version of the show as host Chris Tarrant emphasized that the selection was random in 2007. 50/50 was then eliminated from the U.S. version for good beginning with the implementation of the clock format in the seventh season of the U.S. syndicated program.
  • Ask the Audience: The contestant asks the studio audience which answer they believe is correct. Members of the studio audience indicate their choices using an audience response system (having twenty seconds to do so, though many televised versions edit out most of the time). The results are immediately displayed on the contestant's and host's screens. This is a popular lifeline, known for its near-perfect accuracy. Regis Philbin, host of the U.S. primetime versions, once said that the audience's answer is correct 95% of the time.
    • From 2004-2006 on the syndicated U.S. version, the question was also asked through AOL Instant Messenger to those who had signed up to answer questions for this lifeline. The contestant saw the studio-audience and AOL responses displayed separately. The AOL tie-in was discontinued beginning with the 2006-2007 season.
    • Ask the Audience was also used on a reality TV special of The Weakest Link in the UK, aired in 2006. Although not used as a lifeline, this feature allowed the audience to vote as to who they thought was the weakest link, and therefore who should be voted off.
    • Despite the 95% success rate, sometimes a majority of the studio audience guesses incorrectly. In 2009, a question relating to the only time which the House of Commons of the United Kingdom are permitted to consume alcohol in the chamber resulted a staggering 81% of the audience guessing the State opening over the correct answer, the budget speech.
  • Phone-a-Friend: Contestants may call one of up to five (in some countries' versions, three) pre-arranged friends. In the U.S., the number of pre-arranged friends was three from the introduction of the clock format in September 2008 until the lifeline's elimination from that version in January 2010. The contestant must provide the required number of friends' names and phone numbers (and more recently, their pictures as well) in advance. In countries where the show is broadcast live, the friends are alerted when their contestant reaches the Hot Seat, and are told to keep the phone free and to wait for three rings before answering. The conversation is limited to 30 to 60 seconds (depending on the version), during which time the contestant must tell the friend the question and choices and the friend must answer. A contestant with a disability making them unable to use this lifeline without assistance has the option of having the host read the question and answer choices to the friend, and obtain an answer from them. Phone-a-friends may not be called on mobile phones, and individuals participating as phone-a-friends may do so only twice on any given version. Phone-a-Friend was removed from the U.S. version in January 2010, the reason being because of the increased usage of Internet search engines such as Google by the contestant's friends;[19] and in return for this, Ask the Expert became available throughout the entire game. On the German version, the players can use this lifeline in this way or alternatively call some random person (which can be specified by town/region or gender) to answer the question. The latter will usually be chosen when a strongly regional question is asked (e.g.: What is the largest city on the island of Hiddensee? may lead to a phone call to a random person from Hiddensee).

In February 2004, the U.S. version spawned a short-lived spin-off known as Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire. On this particular version, two new lifelines were introduced, which were only available after a contestant cleared the $100,000 question (the tenth question in this version).

  • Three Wise Men: The contestant asks a sequestered panel chosen by the sponsor which answer they believe is correct. The panel, consisting of three people, one being a former million-dollar winner of the show and at least one being female, has 30 seconds to select an answer but does not need to reach a consensus—each member of the panel may provide a different answer. This lifeline is also used in the Russian version of the show when the 100,000 rubles is not a guaranteed sum, though it can be used on any of the 15 questions. This lifeline is also used in the Swiss version of the show when the 15,000 CHF is not a guaranteed sum. Three Wise Men replaces Ask the Audience in the Swiss version.
  • Double Dip: The contestant can give two answers for a question; however, once a contestant elects to use Double Dip, the contestant is forbidden to walk away from the question or use any additional lifelines. The contestant must indicate and confirm that they intend to use this lifeline before giving a first answer. If the first answer is incorrect, the contestant gives another answer; but if the second answer is also wrong or if time runs out (in the case of the clock format), then the contestant will lose all winnings down to the last milestone achieved. For example, if they failed on (not after) the $25,000 question, they would go back down to $5,000. If the first answer given is correct, the lifeline is still considered to have been used. On versions where Double Dip is available with 50/50, if a contestant uses this lifeline having already used 50/50, they can get past this question freely. Most recently the Double Dip lifeline was introduced on the Russian version, where it is only available in Risk Mode. Double Dip was also introduced to the Indian version, Kaun Banega Crorepati, upon its revival on October 11, 2010.
    • Prashant Batar became the first contestant to use this lifeline on the final question in the Indian version; however, after initially getting one answer wrong, he was also wrong with his second guess, thus becoming the latest top prize loser in the franchise to date.

In 2004 the syndicated U.S. version introduced another new lifeline:

  • Switch the Question: This lifeline becomes available only after the contestant has correctly answered the tenth question, or fifth for some versions. Other versions have it available for the entire game. If the contestant has not chosen a final answer on the revealed question, this lifeline entitles the contestant to switch out the original question for another question of the same value. Once the contestant elects to use this lifeline, he or she cannot return to the original question, and thus the correct answer is revealed for the record. In addition, any lifelines used by the contestant while attempting to answer the original revealed question prior to the question switch will not be reinstated. The syndicated U.S. version introduced this lifeline in 2004, and it has also been used in occasional specials of the UK show, where it is referred to as Flip. It has also been used in the Armenian, Spanish, Colombian, Australian, Arabic, Greek, Israeli, Indonesian, Indian, Italian, New Zealand, Philippine, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Swedish, and Turkish versions of the show. In the Portuguese version, the difficulty level of the second question can be higher or lower than the first one. The Polish and Swiss versions require the player to forfeit the second safe haven to have this lifeline available, which the player decides to do before the game starts. Starting on August 3, 2010, this lifeline is now available in the UK version as a fourth lifeline once the contestant has answered seven questions correctly to reach the £50,000 safe haven.

In the German version, an additional lifeline exists, which will be given if the player chooses to play the game in Risk Mode:

  • Ask One of the Audience: The host will reread the question, and ask those members of the audience who think they would be able to answer that question to stand up. The contestant may choose one of these (judging by looks only) and discuss the question at length with said audience member. He may or may not choose any answer after that. If he chooses the suggested answer and it proves to be correct, the audience member will also receive a prize of €500. This lifeline is also implemented in the Costa Rican version, after the first milestone is reached.

In 2008, the syndicated U.S. version eliminated the 50/50 and Switch the Question lifelines, revived Double Dip as a replacement for 50/50, and introduced this new lifeline:

  • Ask the Expert: This lifeline is similar in nature to the Three Wise Men lifeline mentioned above. The contestant is able to consult with an expert as to what they believe the correct answer is. It is available to the contestant after they successfully answer the $5,000 (fifth) question. After Phone-a-Friend was discontinued midway through Season 8, the rule that stated it was available starting with the sixth question was eliminated, so the Expert could be used during any question. This lifeline is also used in Poland starting in 2009 replacing Phone-a-Friend. It has also replaced Switch the Question in both the Arabian version and the Indian version as of 2010.

The 2009 Tenth Anniversary U.S. prime time series uses the four lifelines from the U.S. version: Double Dip, Ask the Audience, and Phone a Friend were always available—Ask the Expert was available after $1,000 has been won.

In the Hot Seat versions of the show, a new lifeline was introduced to replace all existing lifelines:

  • Pass: True to its name, if a player does not know the answer to the question, they may pass, however, they forfeit their place in the Hot Seat. The next player in line is then forced to answer the question correctly within the allotted time. If they answer correctly, they retain control of the Hot Seat, and play continues. If they answer incorrectly, they are eliminated, and the top prize money is reduced. Pass may only be used once per player, and cannot be used on the final question.

For the shuffle format in the syndicated U.S. version, all lifelines, with the exception of Ask the Audience, were removed and replaced with this:

  • Jump the Question: Similar in nature to Switch the Question, if the contestant has not chosen a final answer on the revealed question, this lifeline entitles the contestant to skip to the next question. The difference between this and Switch the Question is that the contestant goes on to the next section in the money tree. However if this lifeline is used in the "Super Mix" section, the money value of the question will not be added to their money bank. This lifeline can also be used in the upper tier of questions, however, they will not win the specified amount and if the contestant were to move on the next question, they will only receive the money from the last question answered correctly (or if the last question was in the "Super Mix" section, the amount of banked money).[17] For example, if a contestant were to use this lifeline on the $500,000 question, they can skip to the $1 million question but if they decide to walk on that question, they will only receive $250,000 (assuming that they did not use the other jump on that question). Because of this, this lifeline cannot be used on the final question. Unlike all other lifelines in any international version though, contestants are allowed to use this lifeline twice in a single game.[17][18]

The Philippine version's 2011 season introduced a new lifeline, as well as Switch the Question, to replace Ask the Audience:

  • People Speak: Originally used in the Chilean version in 2007 as "Three of the Audience", the host rereads the question and ask all members of the audience who think they would be able to answer that question to stand up. Three of these are chosen by the contestant to give their answers to the question. The contestant may choose any answer after that. The audience members who are correct will receive a share of a prize of P20,000, even if the contestant ends up giving a wrong answer. It is basically a hybrid of Ask One of the Audience and Three Wise Men.

"Is that your final answer?"

The Millionaire franchise's catchphrase is "Is that your final answer?" (more commonly said by some versions' hosts as "Final answer?" or simply "Final?"), a question derived from a rule requirement that the players must clearly indicate their choices before being made official (since the nature of the game allows the player to think aloud about the options before committing to an answer). As a side effect, once a final answer has been given, it cannot be changed. Many parodies of the game show capitalized on this phrase.

Players can prevent the host from asking this question by themselves stating "final answer" or some variant.

Another hallmark of the show is using dramatic pauses before the host acknowledges whether or not the answer was correct. Occasionally, on some versions, if it is time to go for a commercial break, the host will take the final answer but not announce if it is correct until after the break.

Country Host Host question Translated
Arab Maghreb Rachid El Ouali اللي ليها ليها؟
Elli leeha leeha?
What did happen to happen?
Arab League Arab World George Kurdahi جواب نهائي؟
Jawab Nihaeyy?
Final answer?
Maysa Maghrebi نثبت؟
Fix it?
Australia Australia Eddie McGuire Lock it in?
Belgium Belgium Walter Grootaers Is dit je definitieve antwoord? Is this your definitive answer?
Alain Simons C'est votre dernier mot? Is that your final word?
Chile Chile Don Francisco, Sergio Lagos ¿Respuesta definitiva? Definitive Answer?
Diana Bolocco
Colombia Colombia Paulo Laserna Phillips ¿Última palabra? Final word?
Costa Rica Costa Rica Ignacio Santos ¿Respuesta definitiva? Definitive Answer?
Ecuador Ecuador Alfonso Espinosa de los Monteros ¿Última palabra? Final word?
Estéfani Espín
El Salvador El Salvador Willie Maldonado ¿Respuesta definitiva? Definitive Answer?
Finland Finland Ville Klinga Lukitaanko vastaus? Shall we lock the answer?
France France Jean-Pierre Foucault C'est votre dernier mot? Is that your final word?
Germany Germany Günter Jauch Definitiv? Definitely?
Hungary Hungary István Vágó Végleges?,Megjelöljük? Final?, Shall we mark it?
Israel Israel Yoram Arbel  ?סופי
India India Amitabh Bachchan Lock kiya jaye? Lock it?
Shah Rukh Khan Freeze kare? Freeze it?
Prakash Raj Lock panallama? Shall we lock it?
Suresh Gopi Lock cheyyam? Let's lock?
Puneet Rajkumar Lock maadoda? Can it be locked?
Italy Italy Gerry Scotti L'accendiamo? Shall we light it up?
Mexico Mexico Pablo Latapí ¿Decision absoluta? Absolute decision?
New Zealand New Zealand Mike Hosking Lock it in?
Panama Panama Atenogenes Rodriguez ¿Respuesta definitiva? Definitive Answer?
Poland Poland Hubert Urbański Ostatecznie?, Definitywnie? Finally? Definitely?
Portugal Portugal Jorge Gabriel Quer que bloqueie? Shall I lock?
Manuela Moura Guedes
Spain Spain Carlos Sobera ¿La marcamos? ¿Respuesta final? Shall we mark it? Final answer?
Turkey Turkey Kenan Işık Son kararınız mı? Your final decision?
Venezuela Venezuela Eladio Lárez ¿Respuesta definitiva? Definitive Answer?


Father-and-son composer team Keith Strachan and Matthew Strachan wrote the Millionaire franchise's original musical score. Brought in after the initial pilot with a brief instructing them to create music providing mood and tension, they decided to approach the project like a film score with music playing almost throughout the entire show, a unique approach for a game show at the time. After almost completing the task they came up with the idea of taking the pitch up a semi-tone for each subsequent question in order to increase tension as the game progressed. The music has received numerous ASCAP awards.[20]

When the U.S. version of Millionaire was honored by GSN on its Gameshow Hall of Fame special, the narrator described the show's original music tracks as "mimicking the sound of a beating heart," and stated that as the contestant works their way up the money ladder, the music is "perfectly in tune with their ever-increasing pulse."[21] Although most international versions of the show still continue to use the Strachan score, in 2010 the U.S. version retired it altogether in favor of a new musical score, with cues composed by Jeff Lippencott and Mark T. Williams.

A soundtrack album was released, featuring most of the musical stages, but not all of them.

Cheating scandal

Main article: Charles Ingram

In April 2003, British Army Major Charles Ingram, his wife Diana and college lecturer Tecwen Whittock were convicted of using fraudulent means to win £1 million on the UK version of the show when Ingram was a contestant on the show in September 2001. The allegation was that when host Chris Tarrant asked a question, Whittock, one of that edition's nine other Fastest Finger First contestants, would cough in order to guide Ingram to the correct answer. Ingram won the £1 million top prize, but members of the production crew raised suspicions over Whittock's coughing along with the Ingrams' behavior after the recording, and the police were called in to investigate. The defense claimed that Whittock simply suffered from allergies, but all three were found guilty and given suspended sentences. They maintained their innocence.[22] After the trial, ITV screened a documentary about the scandal, along with Ingram's entire game, complete with Whittock's coughing sounds. As a joke, Benylin cough syrup paid to have the first commercial shown during the program's commercial break.[23]

Table of international versions

There have been 81 different versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? since the original UK version debuted on 4 September 1998. Including the UK version, there are 39 versions currently airing and 42 versions that have ended.

Legend:      Currently airing        Ended        Future version  

Countries/regions Title Host Network Top prize Premiere Ended Current/last used format
 Afghanistan (Pashto) څوك غواري چې شي میلیونر؟
Sok Ghwari Chi Shi Millonar?
Aryan Khan
Najeeba Faiz
Shamshad TV
Af.1,000,000 October 17, 2008 Original format
 Afghanistan  (Persian) کی ميخواهد میلیونر شود؟
Ke Mekhowahad Milyoner Shawad?
Walid Soroor
Khatera Yusufi
ATN Af.1,000,000 June 25, 2010 Original format
Albania Republic of Kosovo
Albania and Kosovo
Kush do të bëhet milioner? Veton Ibrahimi
Fehmi Ferati
Agron Llakaj
TV Klan 50,000 December 15, 2008 July 30, 2012 Original format
 Angola Quem quer ser milionário? Jorge Antunes TV Zimbo 3,000,000Kz 2009 Unknown Original format
Arab Maghreb من سيربح المليون؟
Man Sayarbah Al-malyoon
Rachid El Ouali Nessma TV 500,000 August 22, 2009 September 3, 2010 Original format
Arab League Arab world من سيربح المليون؟
Man Sayarbah Al-malyoon
George Kurdahi MBC 1 SR1,000,000 November 27, 2000
January 12, 2010
May 2004
August 3, 2010
12-question format (with 4 lifelines)
من سيربح 2 مليون؟
Man Sayarbah 2 Malyoon
SR2,000,000 November 15, 2005 June 2007 Original format (with 4 lifelines)
المليونير - الحلقة الأقوى
El milyoner - Elhalka elaqwa[24]
Maysa Maghrebi Dubai TV AED1,000,000 April 17, 2013 Hot Seat format
 Argentina ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Julián Weich El Trece AR$1,000,000 May 2001 December 2001 Original format
 Armenia Ո՞վէ ուզում դառնալ միլիոնատեր
Ov e uzum darnal milionater
Ashot Adamyan
Mark Saghatelyan
Arman Saghatelyan
Avet Barseghyan
Shant TV դր.5,000,000 2003 Original format (with 4 lifelines)
Egor Glumov
Avet Barseghyan May 1, 2011 November 19, 2011
November 20, 2011
 Australia Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Eddie McGuire Nine Network A$1,000,000
April 18, 1999
October 22, 2007
April 3, 2006
November 26, 2007
Original format
Millionaire Hot Seat A$1,000,000 April 20, 2009 Hot Seat format
 Austria Alles ist möglich — Die 10-Millionen Show Rainhard Fendrich ORF öS10,000,000 January 24, 2000 December 31, 2001 Risk format
Die Millionenshow Barbara Stöckl
Armin Assinger
1,000,000 January 1, 2002
 Azerbaijan Dövletli olmaq isterdinmi milyonçu Azar "Axsam" Sabanov Lider TV 100,000,000 man. 2002 2007 Original format
 Bangladesh কে হতে চায় কোটিপতি
Ke Hotey Chay Kotipoti
Asaduzzaman Noor Desh TV 10,000,000 July 10, 2011 November 2, 2011 Original format
 Belgium  (French) Qui sera millionnaire? Alain Simons RTL 10,000,000BFr.


Original format
 Belgium  (Dutch) Wie wordt multimiljonair? Walter Grootaers VTM 20,000,000BEF 1999 2002 Original format
Wie wordt euromiljonair? 1,000,000 2002 2006
 Bulgaria Кой иска да стане богат
Koi iska da stane bogat
Niki Kunchev Nova 100,000лв May 12, 2001 12-question format
 Canada (English) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Canadian Edition Pamela Wallin CTV CA$1,000,000 September 2000 September 2000 Original format
 Cambodia [25] អ្នកនឹងក្លាយជាសេដ្ឋី
Neak Neng Klay Chea Sethey
Market Setha CTN 100,000,000 June 29, 2013 Original format
 Chile ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Don Francisco
Sergio Lagos
Canal 13 CL$100,000,000
April 2001 2003 Original format
¿Quién merece ser millonario? Don Francisco CL$120,000,000 2006 2008 Original format (with 4 lifelines)
Sergio Lagos September 2, 2010 December 30, 2010 Original format (with 4 lifelines)
¿Quién quiere ser millonario?: Alta tensión Diana Bolocco
Sergio Lagos
January 6, 2011 2012 Hot Seat format
 China 百万智多星
Bai Wan Zhi Duo Xing
Li Fan GuiZhou TV CN¥1,000,000 September 27, 2007 2008 Original format
 Colombia ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Paulo Laserna Phillips Canal Caracol CO$200,000,000, CO$300,000,000 Septemper 2, 2000 2011 Original format (with 4 lifelines)
RCN March 10, 2013 Original format
 Costa Rica ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Ignacio Santos Pasamontes Teletica 25,000,000, 30,000,000 February 3, 2009 Original format (with 4 lifeline since the first guaranteed sum)
 Croatia Tko želi biti milijunaš? Tarik Filipović HRT 1 1,000,000Kn March 24, 2002 June 3, 2010 Original format
 Czech Republic Chcete být milionářem? Vladimir Čech
Ondřej Hejma
Martin Preiss
Nova TV 10,000,000 2000 2005 Original format (with 4th lifeline since the second guaranteed sum)
Milionář Roman Šmucler TV Prima 2,000,000 2008 Unknown
 Denmark Hvem vil være millionær? Peter Kjær
Jes Dorph Petersen
Hans Pilgaard
TV2 1,000,000Kr 1999 Original format
 El Salvador ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Willie Maldonado Telecorporación Salvadoreña US$200,000 March 3, 2010 Original format
 Ecuador ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Alfonso Espinosa de los Monteros Ecuavisa US$25,000
August 23, 2009
November 28, 2010
Original format
¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Alta tensión Estéfani Espín US$100,000 July 1, 2012 December 23, 2012 Hot Seat format
 Egypt المليونير
El Milyoner
George Kurdahi Hayat 2
Hayat 1
1,000,000 ج.م July 20, 2012
April 24, 2013
October 29, 2012


Original format and clock format
 Estonia Kes tahab saada miljonäriks? Hannes Võrno TV3 1,000,000Kr 2002 2008 Original format
 Finland Haluatko miljonääriksi? Lasse Lehtinen Nelonen 1,000,000mk
1999 2005 Original format
Ville Klinga MTV3 1,000,000 2005 2007
 France Qui veut gagner des millions ? Jean-Pierre Foucault TF1 3,000,000
July 3, 2000 12-question format
 Georgia ვის უნდა ოცი ათასი?
Vis Unda 20000
Dimitry Skhirtlazde Rustavi 2 20,000 2001 2005 Original format (with 4 lifelines)
Mamuka Gamkrelidze September 23, 2009 2011
 Germany Wer wird Millionär? Günther Jauch RTL DM1,000,000
2,000,000 (Gamblers Special - Autumn 2013)
September 3, 1999 Risk format
 Ghana Who Wants to Be Rich? Kafui Dey GTV 50,000 October 2009 Unknown Original format
 Greece and
Ποιος Θέλει Να Γίνει Εκατομμυριούχος?
Poios thelei na ginei Ekatommyriouchos
Spiros Papadopoulos Mega 50,000,000 October 4, 1999 2002 Original format
NET 2002 2005
Theodoris Atheridis
Alpha TV 200,000 2005 2006
 Honduras ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Juan Carlos Pineda Televicentro L1,000,000 July 2, 2012 Original format
 Hong Kong 百萬富翁
Baak Maan Fu Yung
Kenneth Chan ATV HK$1,000,000 2001 2005 Original format
 Hungary Legyen Ön is milliomos! István Vágó RTL Klub 25,000,000Ft February 29, 2000 February 29, 2008 Original format
Sándor Fábry September 17, 2009 February 18, 2010
Sándor Friderikusz February 29, 2012 May 30, 2012
RTL II October 1, 2012
Legyen Ön is milliomos! - felpörgetve Sándor Fábry RTL Klub March 18, 2010 May 27, 2010 Hot Seat format
 Iceland Viltu vinna milljón? Þorsteinn J Stöð 2 1,000,000Kr December 26, 2000 2005 Original format
Jónas R, Jónsson 5,000,000Kr
 India (Hindi) Kaun Banega Crorepati Amitabh Bachchan STAR Plus INR10,000,000 June 3, 2000
13-question format and Clock format
Hot Seat format (Hot seat only with celebrity contestants)
Shahrukh Khan January 2007 April 2007
Amitabh Bachchan Sony TV INR50,000,000 October 11, 2010
August 15, 2011
September 07, 2012
December 09, 2010
November 17, 2011
INR70,000,000 September 06, 2013 Original format and Clock format (with 5th lifelines)
 India (Tamil) Kodeeshwaran Sarath Kumar Sun TV INR 10,000,000 2000 2004 Original format
நீங்களும் வெல்லலாம் ஒரு கோடி
Neengalum Vellalam Oru Kodi
Suriya (Season 1)
Prakash Raj (Season 2)
STAR Vijay INR 10,000,000 February 27, 2012 (Season 1)
March 11, 2013 (Season 2)
July 12, 2012 Original format and clock format
 India (Kannada) ಕನ್ನಡದ ಕೋಟ್ಯಾಧಿಪತಿ
Kannadada Kotyadhipati
Puneet Rajkumar Suvarna TV INR 10,000,000 March 12, 2012 July 28, 2012 Original format and clock format
 India (Malayalam) നിങ്ങൾക്കും ആകാം കോടീശ്വരൻ
Ningalkkum Aakaam Kodeeshwaran
Suresh Gopi Asianet INR 10,000,000 April 9, 2012 / March 4, 2013 August 23, 2012 / July 18, 2013 Original format and clock format
 India (Marathi) [26] कोण होईल मराठी करोडपती
Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati
Sachin Khedekar[27] ETV Marathi INR 10,000,000 May 8, 2013 TBA Original format and clock format
 India (Bengali) কে হবে বাংলার কোটিপতি
Ke Hobe Banglar Kotipoti
Saurav Ganguly Mahuaa Bangla INR 10,000,000 June 4, 2011 Original format
 India (Bhojpuri) के बनी क्रोरेपती
Ke Bani Crorepati
Shatrughan Sinha Mahuaa TV INR 10,000,000 June 6, 2011 August 12, 2011 Original format
 Indonesia Who wants to be a millionaire? Tantowi Yahya RCTI Rp.1,000,000,000 August 4, 2001 2005 Original format (with 4th lifeline since the first guaranteed sum)
Super Milyarder 3 Milyar Dian Sastrowardoyo ANTV Rp.3,000,000,000 September 24, 2006 January 21, 2007
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire Hot Seat Ferdi Hasan RCTI Rp.500,000,000 September 13, 2010 October 31, 2010 Hot Seat format
 Ireland Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Gay Byrne RTÉ IR£1,000,000 2000 2002 Original format
 Israel ?מי רוצה להיות מיליונר
Mi rotseh lehiyot milyoner
Yoram Arbel Channel 2
Channel 10
1,000,000 November 18, 1999
Original format
 Italy Chi vuol essere miliardario? Gerry Scotti Canale 5 1,000,000,000 May 18, 2000 November 4, 2001 Original format (with one guaranteed sum)
Chi vuol essere milionario? 1,000,000 March 11, 2002 July 29, 2011
Chi vuol essere milionario? – Edizione Straordinaria December 15, 2008 March 29, 2009
 Ivory Coast Qui veut gagner des millions? Bamba Bakary
Yves Zogbo
RTI CFA30,000,000 October 8, 2010 Unknown Original format
 Japan クイズ$ミリオネア
Monta Mino Fuji TV ¥10,000,000 April 20, 2000 Clock format
 Kazakhstan Кто возьмёт миллион? Kto vozmyot million Evgeny Jumanov
Serik Akishev
Iskindir Sergibaev
5,000,000 2002 2006 Original format
 Kenya Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Fayaz Qureishi KTN 5,000,000Ksh October 13, 2000 unknown Original format
 Kurdistan Milyoner Shwuan Haco Kanal4 100,000,000IQD November 2009 Unknown Original format (with 4 guaranteed sums, each after 3 questions)
 Latvia Gribi būt miljonārs? Martinš Kibilds
Girts Licis
TV3 50,000Ls. 2002 2008 Original format
 Lithuania Kas laimės milijoną? Henrikas Vaitiekūnas
Vytautas Kernagis
TV3 1,000,000Lt. May 16, 2002 August 18, 2005 Original format
 Macedonia Кој сака да биде милионер?
Koj saka da bide milioner?
Sašo Macanovski-Trendo A1 4,000,000ден 2004 2009 Original format
 Malaysia Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Jalaluddin Hassan NTV7 RM1,000,000 June 5, 2000[28] 2002 Original format
Bai Wan Fu Weng
Victor Gu NTV7 RM1,000,000 2001 2003 Original format
 Mexico ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Pablo Latapí TV Azteca MX$3,000,000
March 23, 2010




Original format
 Moldova Vrei să fii milionar?[29] Dan Negru Prime TV MDL1,000,000 December 4, 2011 Unknown Original format
 Netherlands Weekend Miljonairs Robert ten Brink
Jeroen van der Boom
February 6, 1999 February 6, 2006 12-question format and Clock format (with 4th lifeline since the second guaranteed sum)
Lotto Weekend Miljonairs March 4, 2006
March 12, 2011
May 24, 2008
 New Zealand Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? New Zealand Mike Hosking TV ONE NZ$1,000,000 2008 Unknown Original format (with 4th lifeline since the second guaranteed sum)
 Nigeria Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Frank Edoho NTA 10,000,000 2004 Original format
 Norway Vil du bli millionær? Arve Juritzen
Frithjof Wilborn
Sarah Natasha Melbye
TV2 2,000,000Kr January 10, 2000 2008 Original format
Vil du bli millionær? Hotseat Sarah Natasha Melbye 2009 2011 Hot Seat format
 Pakistan Kya Aap Banaingay Crorepati? Moin Akhtar ARY Digital 10,000,000 2003 2004 Original format
 Panama ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Atenógenes Rodríguez Telemetro B/.100,000 July 9, 2009 December 29, 2011 Original format
 Peru ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Guido Lombardi Red Global 1,000,000S/. 2001 2002 Original format
 Philippines Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Christopher de Leon IBC 2,000,000 November 20, 2000 December 14, 2002 Original format
Vic Sotto TV5 May 23, 2009
May 15, 2011
July 1, 2012
September 15, 2013
October 2, 2010
February 26, 2012
October 7, 2012
Original format and Risk format (with 4th lifeline)
 Poland Milionerzy Hubert Urbański TVN 1,000,000 September 3, 1999
January 19, 2008
January 26, 2003
December 19, 2010
12-question format and Risk format
 Portugal Quem quer ser milionário? Carlos Cruz RTP 1 50,000,000$00 January 2000 May 2000 Original format
Maria Elisa Domingues September 2000 January 2001
Diogo Infante January 2001 April 2001
Jorge Gabriel 250,000 September 2003
January 2008
January 2005
June 2008
Manuela Moura Guedes 100,000 September 23, 2013
Quem quer ser milionário? Alta Pressão José Carlos Malato 100,000 July 5, 2010 September 16, 2011 Hot Seat format
 Romania Vrei să fii miliardar? Virgil Ianțu Prima TV 1,000,000,000 lei 2000 2003 Original format
Vrei să fii milionar? Kanal D 1,000,000 lei August 24, 2011 November 29, 2012 Original format (with 4th lifeline after the second guaranteed sum)
 Russia О, счастливчик!
O, schastlivchik!
Dmitry Dibrov NTV 1,000,000руб October 1, 1999 January 28, 2001 Risk format
Кто хочет стать миллионером?
Kto khochet stat' millionerom?
Maksim Galkin
Dmitry Dibrov
ORT 1,000,000руб
February 19, 2001
 Serbia Želite li da postanete milioner? Ivan Zeljković BKTV 3,000,000din. 2002 2006 Original format (with 4th lifeline after the first guaranteed sum)
Prva (ex Fox)
5,000,000din 2007
 Singapore 百万大赢家
Bai wan da ying jia
Chao Chi-Tai MediaCorp TV Channel 8 S$1,000,000 Aug 15 2001 2004 Original format
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Mark Van Cuylenberg MediaCorp TV Channel 5 Apr 18 2001 2002 Original format
 Slovakia Milionár Martin Nikodým Markíza 1,000,000Sk
2000 2006 Original format (with 4 lifelines)
Iveta Malachovská Jednotka 10,000,000Sk 2007 March 26, 2008
 Slovenia Lepo je biti milijonar - Kviz z Jonasom Jonas Žnidaršič POP TV 10,000,000SIT 2000 2003 Original format
Lepo je biti milijonar Boštjan Romih POP TV 15,000,000SIT 2003 2005
Milijonar Jonas Žnidaršič RTV Slovenia 100,000 2007 2008
 South Africa Who wants to be a millionaire? Jeremy Maggs M-NET R1,000,000 2000 2005 Original format
 South Korea 퀴즈쇼 밀리어네어
Kwijeusyo Millieoneeo
Kim Kap-soo tvN 500,000,000 2013 Unknown Clock format
 Spain ¿Quiere ser millonario? 50 por 15 Carlos Sobera Telecinco 50,000,000 April 19, 1999 2001 12-question format
¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Carlos Sobera
Antonio Garrido
Antena 3 1,000,000 July 25, 2005
May 18, 2009
May, 2008
July, 2009
¿Quién quiere ser El millonario? Núria Roca laSexta 100,000 February 15, 2012 July 31, 2012 (are emitted repetitions) Hot Seat format
 Sri Lanka  (Sinhala) ඔබ ද ලක්ෂපති මම ද ලක්ෂපති
Obada Lakshapathi Mamada Lakshapathi
Chandana Sooriyabandara Sirasa TV 2,000,000 September 18, 2010 Original format
 Sri Lanka  (Tamil) உங்களில் யார் மகா இலட்சாதிபதி
Ungali Yaar Maha Latchathipathi
Balendran Kandeeban Shakthi TV 2,000,000 May 2011 Original format
 Sri Lanka Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Riyaz (Shaq) Shah Jahan MTV Sports 2,000,000 May 12, 2012 Original format
 Sweden Vem vill bli miljonär? Bengt Magnusson TV4 10,000,000Kr January 21, 2000 2003 Risk format
Postkodmiljonären Rickard Sjöberg 1,000,000kr 2005
  Switzerland Wer wird Millionär? René Rindlisbacher TV3 SFr1,000,000 March 27, 2000 2001 Risk format
Claudio Zuccolini 3+ November 29, 2011 December 13, 2011
 Taiwan 超級大富翁
Chao ji da fu weng
Xie Zhen Wu TTV NT$1,000,000 2000 2006 Original format
 Thailand เกมเศรษฐี Traipop Limprapat ThaiTV 3
1,000,000฿ March 4, 2000 January 14, 2008 12-question format
 Turkey Kim beşyüz milyar ister? Kenan Işık Show TV, Kanal D 500,000,000,000TL March 7, 2000 2004 Original format
Kim beşyüz bin ister? Kenan Işık
Haluk Bilginer
Show TV 500,000YTL 2005 2007
Kim bir milyon ister? Kenan Işık Star TV 1,000,000YTL February 1, 2008 2009 16-question format (with 4th lifeline since the second guaranteed sum)
Kim Milyoner Olmak İster Kenan Işık aTV 1,000,000TL August 2, 2011 12-question format and Clock format (with 4th lifeline since the second guaranteed sum)
 Uganda Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Alan Kasujja NTV 25,000,000USh January 31, 2011 Unknown Original format
 Ukraine Хто хоче стати мiльйонером? Перший мільйон
Khto khoche staty milyonerom? Pershy milyon
Danylo Yanevs'kyi
Anatoli Borsiuk
Ostap Stupka
1+1 1,000,000 2001 2005 Original format
Мільйонер - Гаряче крісло
Milyoner - Garyache Krislo
Vladimir Zelenski Inter February 15, 2011 August 13, 2011 Hot Seat format
 United Kingdom Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Chris Tarrant ITV £1,000,000 4 September 1998 2013 12-question format & Clock format
 United States Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Regis Philbin ABC US$1,000,000 August 16, 1999 June 27, 2002
Original format
November 30, 2009 December 4, 2009 Original format & Clock format
Meredith Vieira (2002–13)
Cedric Kyles (2013-)
television syndication
September 16, 2002 November 27, 2009
December 7, 2009 Shuffle format
 Uruguay ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Andrés Tulipano Teledoce US$40,000 2001 Early 2002 Original format
 Venezuela ¿Quién quiere ser millonario? Eladio Lárez RCTV Bs.200,000,000
August 23, 2000 January 20, 2010 Risk format
Televen Bs.F250,000
May 8, 2011
March 4, 2012
November 27, 2011
 Vietnam Ai Là Triệu Phú Lại Văn Sâm VTV3 150,000,000 January 4, 2005
July 5, 2011
August 31, 2010
Original format
Ai Là Triệu Phú - Ghế nóng ₫120,000,000 September 7, 2010 June 28, 2011 Hot Seat format

Top prize winners

Out of all contestants that have played the game, few have been able to win the top prize on any international version of the show. The first was John Carpenter, who won the top prize on the U.S. version on 19 November 1999. Carpenter did not use a lifeline until the final question, using his Phone-a-Friend not for help but to call his father to tell him he had won the million.[30]

Other notable top prize winners include Judith Keppel, the first winner of the UK version; Kevin Olmstead from the U.S. version, who won a progressive jackpot of $2.18 million; Martin Flood from the Australian version, who was accused of cheating much like Charles Ingram but was later acquitted; Takeshi Kitano from the Japanese version, who participated in two celebrity episodes, winning the top prize in his latter appearance after having answered the top question incorrectly in his first; Svyatoslav Vakarchuk from the Ukrainian version, who was the first celebrity contestant outside of Japan to win the top prize; and Sushil Kumar from the Indian version, who is often referred to in Western media as the 'real-life Slumdog Millionaire'.[31][32][33][34][35]

Lowest scores

The first contestant ever to win nothing was John Davidson from the British version, failing on his fifth question.[36] Robby Roseman, from the American version, was the first contestant to fail on the first question, and Richard Hatch, in a celebrity special on the Australian version became their first A$0 winner, failing on his fourth question.[37] New Zealand's first contestant ever, Courtney Washington, also became their first NZ$0 winner, failing on her fourth question.[38] In March 2007, Dutch contestant Peter Lindhout got his fourth question, worth €250, wrong and went home with €0.

In 2006, a screenshot from the site[39] was digitally altered and used in a piece on the satire site BS News. The image was also widely circulated as an email[40] in which it was purported to show a contestant named Fiona Wheeler failing to answer her $100 question correctly after using all three lifelines because she was too skeptical of the assistance that was given. The image was actually a digitally altered screenshot of real-life contestant Fiona Wheeler on the original UK version answering a different question from a higher tier.[39]

The hoax may have been inspired by an infamous moment from the French version of the show, in which a contestant requested help from the audience on a €3,000 question which asked which celestial body orbits the Earth: the Sun, the Moon, Mars or Venus. The audience provided the answer of "the Sun",[40] and the player ended up leaving with €1,500 as a result. The hoax also borrows elements from other infamous moments of numerous unlucky contestants on the U.S. version, all of whom won nothing after giving a wrong answer to one of the first five questions.


Main article: Fifty Fifty (game show)

The UK version has been working on a spin-off of the show called 50:50.[41][42] Such a spin-off has aired in Macedonia, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Japan and Egypt.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - Play It!

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - Play It! was an attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. The attraction was a modified version of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire television game show in which theme park guests could participate.

See also


External links

  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? at the National Film and Sound Archive
Original United Kingdom version
  • website
  •'s website on the show
  • Major Charles Ingram affair in detail
Internet Movie Database pages
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
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