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[09/14/09 - 12:50 PM]
TV's Richest Game Show Just Got Richer!
The eighth season of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" will feature a new "money tree" in which contestants will be able to reach the higher level questions faster.

[via press release from ABC]

TV's RICHEST GAME SHOW JUST GOT RICHER!

"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" Revamps Money Tree, Allowing Hot Seat Contestants to Walk Away With Even MORE Money!

SEPTEMBER 14, 2009 (NEW YORK) -- "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira is making big changes to the show's "money tree," giving hot seat contestants the opportunity to win even more money this season! Contestants will still face 15 questions to win the top prize of $1-million, but will be able to reach the higher level questions faster as the monetary values of the first eight questions will increase. The new "money tree" will take effect on Monday, September 14.

Millionaire will no longer start with the first three questions being valued at $100, $200 and $300. Instead, contestants will jump right into big-action game play with their very first question valued at $500. Contestants will reach the first safety level of $5,000 (formerly $1,000) after correctly answering the first five questions. At that point, they are guaranteed to win at least $5,000 from their hot seat appearance. The monetary values for the next three questions will also increase, leading up to the next safety level of $25,000.

"We've launched our own little stimulus package this season on Millionaire," said Michael Davies, Executive Producer on the hit game show. "Regular Americans from all over the country have always been the stars of our show. This season, we'll be giving them the opportunity to win even more money in the Millionaire hot seat," he added.

Here is a rundown of the newly revamped Millionaire "money tree":

Question #1 - $500 (formerly $100)
Question #2 - $1,000 (formerly $200)
Question #3 - $2,000 (formerly $300)
Question #4 - $3,000 (formerly $500)
Question #5 - $5,000 - "Safety Level" (formerly $1,000)
Question #6 - $7,500 (formerly $2,000)
Question #7 - $10,000 (formerly $4,000)
Question #8 - $12,500 (formerly $8,000)
Question #9 - $15,000 (formerly $16,000)
Question #10 - $25,000 - "Safety Level"
Question #11 - $50,000
Question #12 - $100,000
Question #13 - $250,000
Question #14 - $500,000
Question #15 - $1,000,000

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the 1999 launch of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" in the U.S. Throughout the last decade, $133-million has been won by hot seat contestants from both the original primetime show and the syndicated show. Millionaire remains the only game show in the history of television where contestants can win $1-million by simply answering fifteen questions.

Tournament of Ten

Another new addition for this season, the Tournament of Ten, will feature the ten best contestants through November 6, playing to win the show's top prize of $1-million. Players earning a spot for the tournament will be seeded, based on how much money they won and how quickly they answered their questions. Qualifying for the tournament started with the season premiere episode on September 7. Home viewers will be able to keep track of tournament qualifying through a Leader Board that will be updated throughout each episode and daily on www.millionairetv.com.

Each day November 9 - 20, a tournament finalist will look at a $1-million question, beginning with the 10th seeded player. After looking at the question, contestants have the option of walking away with the money they won on their first appearance or risking it all for a possible $1-million prize.

If they answer correctly, they will be in the running to win the tournament's $1-million payout. Each person seeded above them however, has the opportunity to knock them out of the tournament if they correctly answer their own $1-million question. Contestants who correctly answer their $1-million question but are knocked out of the tournament, will still go home with whatever money they won from their previous appearance. The Tournament of Ten will culminate on November 20, after the top-seeded final contestant plays his or her own $1-million question in the hot seat.

About "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" & Meredith Vieira

Millionaire currently is in its eighth season and is produced by Valleycrest Productions Ltd. and distributed by Disney?ABC Domestic Television. Michael Davies and Leigh Hampton are executive producers. Meredith Vieira and Rich Sirop are co-executive producers. The game show is directed by Emmy Award-winning director Matthew Cohen. Millionaire host Meredith Vieira is a 35-year television veteran and multiple Emmy Award-winner, having won twice in the category of "Outstanding Game Show Host" (2005 & 2009). In 2005, she became the second woman ever to win an Emmy in the Game Show Host category. With seven seasons of Millionaire under her belt, she is the most prolific female game show host in history.





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· WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE (SYNDICATION)









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