Mobile ‘Millionaire’

Back when the ratings of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? were falling, I offered an explanation and a solution in a newspaper article. Diagnosis (besides overexposure and foolishly butting heads with other strong shows): Viewers like to think they could win. Questions seemed fairly easy (making it fun to watch with your kids), and the process seemed open to anyone (just call up and take a quiz). But then some developments thwarted that feeling. The questions got harder. One group seemed to dominate — aging white guys. And, worst of all, the ratings greed led to celebrity editions, where no regular folks won at all! The cure? No, not up the jackpot to $10 million (which ABC is doing for the next doomed try). Restore the “anyone can win” feeling. Here’s one way: Mobile Millionaire! Put Regis Philbin in a huge RV, or even a helicopter, with cohorts fanned out around the country. Next thing you know, somebody’s pulled off the street to compete there in the mobile studio with Rege. And then somebody in another city is selected by a knock on the door. And someone else who calls in gets to compete — or win money by being right as a lifeline. It’s all random — anyone could win. Maybe when a question’s missed, you could get a call … and you’d win that jackpot if you’re correct. ABC, that’s my final answer. Feel free to steal it.

Leave a Reply