Jimmy Kimmel is taking on a new role, hosting a new celebrity-driven special edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for ABC. Kimmel will host a series of charity specials to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary in the United States.
Kimmel currently hosts his late night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, on the network, and has been doing so since 2003.
Deadline reports that the new version of Millionaire will launch on Wednesday, April 8 and was announced by ABC entertainment president Karey Burke at the TCA Winter Press Tour. The special episodes will include celebrity contestants competing for a charity of their choice, and contestants will be able to invite a guest to the hot seat to help them answer questions for the first time. Guests can be anyone, including relatives or experts.
In addition, the anniversary version will introduce a live, play-along app in which viewers can compete to win the same amount of money the celebrities are playing for on television.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is based on the British game show of the same name and began airing in the U.S. in 1999 on ABC with host Regis Philbin. In September 2002, the weekly syndicated version of the show began airing with host Meredith Viera and until May 2013. The syndicated version was later hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews and Chris Harrison before it was canceled in May 2019.
"Regis came to me in a dream, asked me to do this and promised my own line of neckties if I did. I had little choice but to say yes," Kimmel said in a statement.
Executive producer Michael Davies added, "My professional career has been inextricably linked with Jimmy's since the days of Win Ben Stein's Money, and he was one of the first-ever celebrity contestants on Millionaire in its original run. I can't wait to work with him on this dynamic new version of the show that changed my life and the fortunes of so many who benefited from and simply loved the game."0comments
Millionaire was a huge hit for ABC when it premiered and enjoyed nearly 30 million viewers per episode at its primetime peak. It was the first U.S. network game show to offer a $1 million prize and became one of the highest-rated game shows in the history of American television.
Photo Credit: Getty / Mitch Haaseth