ABC is bringing back Who Wants To Be A Millionaire for a series of charity specials fronted by Jimmy Kimmel to celebrate its 20th anniversary in the U.S.
The Disney-owned network originally remade the British quiz format in August 1999 after Michael Davies moved from the network into production to remake the show. Kimmel will now host a special run of episodes featuring celebrity contestants.
The new version is set to launch on Wednesday, April 8. The announcement was made ABC entertainment president Karey Burke at the TCA Winter Press Tour.
It echoes the way the format has returned for a series of specials fronted by The Grand Tour’s Jeremy Clarkson in the UK on ITV. The Sony-owned format has been remade in 120 territories around the world.
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The move comes after the format was cancelled by Disney-ABC last year after 17 years in syndication.
Celebrity contestants will be able to invite a guest in the hot seat to help them answer questions for the first time. It could be a relative, a beloved teacher or a famed trivia expert – anyone they want – to help them win as much money as they can for the charity of their choice. The special run of shows will also introduce a live, play-along app which will allow viewers to compete to win the same amount of money that celebrities are playing for on the show.
Davies will exec produce alongside Jimmy Kimmel and Mike Richards, the former executive producer of The Price Is Right, who is set to take over the helm of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune later this year. The series is produced by Sony Pictures Television’s Embassy Row, Kimmelot and Disney’s Valleycrest Productions.
“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,” said Jimmy Kimmel.
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.”
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