'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Canceled After 17 Years in Syndication

ABC has finally brought long-running game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to an end after 17 years in syndication. According to Variety, the show ran for 22 years overall when including the original run hosted by Regis Philbin that continued for nearly 300 episodes. It moved to syndication in 2002 for nearly "3,000 episodes" and featured a variety of hosts including Meredith Viera, Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews, and The Bachelor host Chris Harrison.

"After a successful 17-year run, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire will not return in national syndication for the 2019-20 season," a spokesperson told Variety.

The original series was an adaptation of a British game show of the same name and quickly became a cultural phenomenon, dropping the catchphrase, "Is that your final answer?" into the lexicon and sparking several copycats around the globe.

The show also played a big part in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire where the main character relives his life while taking part in the Indian version of the game show.

The initial American adaptation of the show hosted by Philbin quickly gained interest in primetime and became the first game show to offer $1 million as its grand prize, breaking ratings records in the process.

The syndicated version of the series recently announced that they had awarded $100 million in prizes according to Deadline, with November marking a series of milestone specials for the daytime series. Philbin was replaced for the premiere of the daytime version of the series, with Meredith Viera from The View stepping in to host for 11 seasons. Cedric the Entertainer then stepped in for the twelve season before leaving and being replaced by Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews for season 13. Bachelor host Chris Harrison then became the host for the series to the present day, holding the row since season 14 in 2015.

Interestingly enough, just as the American version finally comes to an end, the original U.K. version is in the middle of a revival hosted by Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson. The host talked about the difficulties with shooting the program when the first half of the revival premiered in 2018.

"It really is extraordinarily difficult to get your head around the endless visual stings and sound effects, which people are completely used to, but what I didn't realize is how much I can't talk over them," Clarkson said. "Normally I rabbit away, but here you have to shut up for large periods of time. That's the sticky bit."


If anything, it gives a view into the world of the show and why so many hosts have sat in the chair throughout its run.

The end of Millionaire closes out one of the most successful game shows in television history. It also joins several other major cancellations in 2019, with daytime losing Steve Harvey's successful talk show and ABC adding Millionaire to its already surprising slate of ended shows.