By Matthew Bitz
In what could be the hottest new show on television this year, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" is fast becoming not only a national pastime but a craze that is sweeping through American households and living rooms everywhere as millions tune in to watch with excitement and to answer the questions along with the contestants. Even now, as I'm writing this article, I am playing along with Regis and a contestant named Phil.
This game show sensation which aired in the U.K. in September of 1998 and is now on ABC has taken that networkfromthird place slot in the network ratings and catapulted them to first place by a majority in less than one season, which is to say the least, impressive. As the season has worn on and the incredible success of "Who wants to be a Millionaire" has not worn off, it seems that there is no end to the copycat game shows that are popping up on all the rival networks in a desperate gambit to pull attention from this Godzilla of game shows. Just recently, the FOX network aired what has become a much debated and talked about gimmick called "Who wants to marry a Multi Millionaire?"
This program was a beauty-pageant/ Dating Game gimmick in which young attractive women competed on live television for the hand of a mysterious, masked bachelor. At the end of the program, the couple was officially and lawfully wedded as the groom, Rick Rockwell, slipped a $35,000 wedding ring on the hand of his beaming bride, Darva Conger. But their wedded bliss was short lived as the couple spent their honeymoon in separate suites.
This sort of cheap trick is exactly why so many people have been tuned in to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in the first place. It provides a classic type of entertainment that can finally be watched by the entire family, unlike so many of the sitcoms, medical, and police dramas.
It is a relief to encounter programming that does not require parents to sit with their hands hovering over the kids' ears, and it is exactly the sort of fun entertaining viewing that so many viewers like myself enjoy.
So, if you haven't already caught the bug, I'd suggest you tune in to ABC right away.