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What Regis Philbin asks a contestant before they lock in their answer on the game show "Who wants to be a millionaire?".
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- Final answer? Adland takes on our 50th quiz
During the British original, between and , the show's format focused on fifteen questions. After , the format was changed, reducing the number of questions to twelve; the overall change in format was later incorporated into a number of international versions over a period of four years, including the Arab, Bulgarian, Dutch, French, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish versions. An American syndication of the game show was conceived after the British original proved successful, debuting in The only difference between it and the British version was that episodes were halved in length — 30 minutes, as opposed to the minute length of the original version.
The change meant that the preliminary round of the show was eliminated, and contestants had to pass a more conventional game show qualification test. Exceptions to this arrangement, in which it was used under the name "Fastest Finger" included: The decision to remove this round would later occur in other international versions, including the British original. In , the U. The limit varied depending on the difficulty of the question: Time for each question began counting down immediately after a question was given and its answers revealed, but was temporarily paused when a lifeline was used.
If a contestant exceeded the time limit, they were forced to walk away with any prize money they had won up to that point. Any time not used in these questions was banked for use in the final question. This format change was later adopted into other international versions — the British original, for example, adopted this change for episodes on 3 August On 13 September , the U. In this change, the game featured two rounds. As such, the difficulty of the question in this round, is 'not' tied to the value associated to it, and a contestant does not know what amount they won unless they provide a correct answer, or choose to walk away.
Final answer? Adland takes on our 50th quiz
The format was later modified for the fourteenth season of the US version, but retained the same arrangement for the last four questions. In , the so-called "shuffle format" was scrapped and the show returned to a version that closely resembled the original format. Other notable formats used in international variations of the show, and used subsequently in other versions, included:.
During a standard play of the game, a contestant is given a series of lifelines to aid them with difficult questions. In the standard format, a contestant has access to three lifelines — the contents can use each only once per game, but can use more than one on a single question.
The standard lifelines used in the original format of the game show include. In the US version, some lifelines used corporate sponsorship. From to , the US version of "Ask the Audience" was sponsored by AOL , which allowed users of its Instant Messenger to add the screen name MillionaireIM to their contact list and receive an instant message with the question and the four possible answers, to which the users replied with their choices.
In some countries which aired live editions of the programme, anyone nominated to be used for "Phone a Friend" were informed to be prepared for when they are alerted to their friend playing the game, and required to have their phone free and wait for three rings before answering. When the contestant calls one of their friends, the friend appears onscreen and both the contestant and friend can see and hear each other.
During the course of the game show's history, there were a number of unique lifeline additions in various versions of the programme:. Out of all contestants that have played the game, few have been able to win the top prize on any international version of the show. The first was John Carpenter , who won the top prize on the U. Carpenter did not use a lifeline until the final question, using his Phone-a-Friend not for help but to call his father to tell him he had won the million.
Of all the international versions, the Japanese version has produced the most number 38 of top prize winners, including juniors. When it began airing, the show was hosted by Chris Tarrant , and became an instant hit — at its peak in , one edition of the show was watched by over 19 million viewers.
On 22 October , Tarrant decided to quit the show after hosting it for 15 years. His decision led ITV to subsequently make plans to cancel the programme at the end of his contract, with no further specials being made other than those that were already planned. Four years later, ITV revived the programme for a special 7-episode series, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the British original.
Since the British original debuted in , several different versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? In total over different international variations have been made. On 18 April , Nine Network launched an Australian version of the game show for its viewers.
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This version ran until its final episode, aired on 3 April Hosted by Regis Philbin ,  it proved to be a ratings success, becoming the highest-rated television show during the — season, with its average audience figures reaching approximately 29 million viewers. This version ran until its final episode on 28 January ,  whereupon a few weeks later it was relaunched under the Russian translation of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
The relaunched version was hosted by Maxim Galkin until , when he was replaced as host by Dmitry Dibrov after that. On 3 July , an Indian version of the game show was launched. The show was hosted by Amitabh Bachchan in his first appearance on Indian television,  and received additional seasons in —06,  , and then every year since Since then, it has grown it's popularity immensely through local audiences.
It is presented by Chandana Suriyabandara, a senior commentator in Sri Lanka. In , a Filipino version of the game show was launched by the government-sequestered Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation. Hosted by Christopher de Leon , and produced by Viva Television ,   it ran for two years before being axed. The host was Gerry Scotti for every edition from to In it broadcast four special episodes for the 20th anniversary. The musical score most commonly associated with the franchise was composed by father-and-son duo Keith and Matthew Strachan.
The Strachans' score provides drama and tension, and unlike older game show musical scores, Millionaire ' s musical score was created to feature music playing almost throughout the entire show. The Strachans' Millionaire soundtrack was honoured by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers with numerous awards, the earliest of them awarded in Even later, the Strachan score was removed from the U. Williams, co-founders of the Los Angeles-based company Ah2 Music. The basic set design used in the Millionaire franchise was conceived by British production designer Andy Walmsley , and is the most reproduced scenic design in television history.
The lighting system is programmed to darken the set as the contestant progresses further into the game. There are also spotlights situated at the bottom of the set area that zoom down on the contestant when they answer a major question; to increase the visibility of the light beams emitted by such spotlights, oil is vaporised, creating a haze effect. Robert Thompson , a professor at Syracuse University , stated that the show's lighting system made the contestant feel as though they were outside a prison while an escape was in progress.
Millionaire introduced its shuffle format, the Hot Seats and corresponding monitors were replaced with a single podium and as a result, the contestant and host stand throughout the game and are also able to walk around the stage. According to Vieira, the Hot Seat was removed because it was decided that the seat, which was originally intended to make the contestant feel nervous, actually ended up having contestants feel so comfortable in it that it did not service the production team any longer.
In September , the redesigned set was improved with a modernised look and feel, in order to take into account the show's transition to high-definition broadcasting , which had just come about the previous year. The two video screens were replaced with two larger ones, having twice as many projectors as the previous screens; the previous contestant podium was replaced with a new one; and light-emitting diode LED technology was integrated into the lighting system to give the lights more vivid colours and the set and gameplay experience a more intimate feel.
Millionaire has made catchphrases out of several lines used on the show. The most well-known of these catchphrases is the host's question "Is that your final answer? Regularly on tier-three questions, a dramatic pause occurs between the contestant's statement of their answer and the host's acknowledgement of whether or not it is correct.
Final answer? Adland takes on our 50th quiz
Many parodies of Millionaire have capitalised on the "final answer" catchphrase. In the United States, the phrase was popularised by Philbin during his tenure as the host of that country's version,  to the extent that TV Land listed it in its special Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases , which aired in On the Australian versions, McGuire replaces the phrase with "Lock it in? There are also a number of other non-English versions of Millionaire where the host does not ask "[Is that your] final answer?
The show also became one of the most popular game shows in television history, and is credited by some with paving the way for the phenomenon of reality programming. In , the British Film Institute honoured the UK version of Millionaire by ranking it number 23 on its "BFI TV " list, which compiled what British television industry professionals believed were the greatest programmes to have ever originated from that country.
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