Over 15 years ago, ABC’s Who Wants To Be a Millionaire was THE TV event of late summer. It pushed the boundaries of what game shows were (Million dollar top prize! Dark and moody lighting!) and its popularity sparked an explosive end to a humdrum decade in the quizzer genre.
Millionaire went from a worldwide phenomenon helmed by Chris Tarrant, Regis Philbin, and others to… something far from its glorious late-90s, early 2000s heyday. Here in the U.S., it’s limping along with its fourth syndicated weekday host and a third major format tweak (i.e. “back to basics”).
Tim “Loogaroo” Connolly documents his thoughts:
Without question, WWTBAM was one of my all-time favorite shows. It captivated my attention from the word go, and I was among the throngs of people calling the show’s toll-free number every opportunity I got, hoping to get the call that would give me the opportunity at a big win. I even constructed a fansite for the show, doing my best to chronicle the exploits of each contestant before the constant waves of new contestants got to be overwhelming.