'Monopoly Millionaire’s Club' Sold in 95% of US TV Lottery Homes

New weekly game show Monopoly Millionaire’s Club, hosted by Mike & Molly’s Billy Gardell, will launch in February on TV stations covering more than 95% of U.S. lottery television homes. The show is a companion to a new national lottery game by the same title that is debuting Sunday, Oct. 19, in several states, and then expanding across the country over the next several months.

The lottery, along with its companion TV show, is a project more than a year in the making, led by Scientific Games Corp., a developer of technology-based products and services for worldwide markets, on the gaming side, and by Barry Wallach, former president of NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution, on the television side.

“We felt that the power of having a TV show that worked simultaneously with the lottery would be a one-plus-one-equals-three equation,” says Wallach, who’s sold the hourlong show to stations owned by the Tribune, Sinclair, Hearst, CBS, Gannett, LIN, Graham Holdings and other groups. 

Monopoly Millionaire’s Club will cost approximately $1 million per episode to produce. But since Scientific Games developed the new lottery, which is run by states' official lottery organizations, and will produce the show, there should be plenty of cash coming in, as well as revenue from national advertising sales, which is being handled by Marathon Ventures.

In fact, if it weren’t for lottery regulations, Monopoly Millionaire’s Club would likely air on network primetime instead of in prime access and primetime slots on TV stations. But six states — Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah — don’t run lotteries, so the show cannot air in those states, preventing it from being carried nationally. Of the 95% of U.S. TV markets the series can, therefore, legally air in, MMC is cleared in 95% — and there’s still four months to go.

“We certainly think that this show — which is a first-run, sales-friendly, high-budget, weekend-available game show — has broad appeal. It’s working off of a brand that’s been around for decades and is one of the most popular board games in history,” says Sean Compton, Tribune Broadcasting president of strategic programming and acquisition. 

Stations acquired Monopoly Millionaire’s Club as a 50/50 barter split, which is typically how weekend hours are sold.

To learn more about this show's production, revenue model and local TV elements, read the Oct. 13 edition of Broadcasting & Cable.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997 - September 2002.