Millionaire's Ending Of An Era
Originally posted: January 27th, 2013

By Cyndi Seidelman

It was announced earlier in the month that Meredith Viera would be leaving Millionaire after this season.  It was a move that sent shockwaves throughout the game show world that the 11-Year host will be leaving to focus on other aspects of her career.  It would later be announced that she's getting a new talk show out of the deal, which would more than likely replace the departing Jeff Probst and Anderson Cooper talk shows after this season.  With declining ratings and not having legitimately given away the million in ten years, the show only has two options to move forward, each strongly different.

1: Bring back Regis and the Hot Seat.  This would not only bring back those who loved Millionaire with Regis as the host, but those who were disenchanted by the introductions of either the clock or the new "Super Mix" format.  Regis isn't comfortable with the clock, especially with the early stages of the game when there's only 15 seconds to answer the question and Regis takes 10 to ask it.  This was used as a budget-saving method, but it drove away more viewers.  If reverted to the classic Millionaire format, just imagine the promos.  (booming announcer voice)  STARTING IN SEPTEMBER....THE HOT SEAT RETURNS....FASTEST FINGER RETURNS....AND HE RETURNS...(Regis) Is that your final answer?  That would get the crowd back into the show and also especially buzz.  The producers also realize that Regis wants to do the show again, and he would more than likely want the classic format back.

There is also a second option, but it's a lot more drastic.

2: Cancel the show.  It's a sad statement, but it might have to be done or even ordered by the executives at Disney.  Sagging ratings over the course of 11 years, and that little $400,000,000 Lawsuit that Disney lost to Celador will sour them on making more episodes.  Not only that, the only true constant that kept viewers glued was Meredith.  Now with that comfort gone to viewers, they'll flock to something else during that time, mainly either her new talk show or Family Feud.  Not to mention, the show was only renewed up to this year, so Disney has to either offer it up with changes for the 3rd time in 5 years or just simply say that nothing else is working and the format needs to rest.  It's also quite apparent than the $1,000,000 grand prize isn't that attractive anymore to viewers.  With the NBC shows throughout the past three years and with other shows on primetime or on basic cable, they have proven you don't need a big jackpot to draw in viewers.  I mean, Wipeout has lasted since 2007 and they only offer $50,000 per show and they are staying alive and well.

So, the ball is in Disney's Court.  Will they go back to what worked or will they shoot Old Yeller to save it the misery of limping on another year with a no-name host and a terrible format?  Only time will tell.

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