'Monopoly Millionaires' Won’t Pass Go for Season 3

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After being shopped last month to station buyers at NATPE as a potential daily strip, it turns out that weekly game show MonopolyMillionaires’ Club will instead go off the air at the end of April, confirms a spokesman for the show.

TV station groups last week received a letter from the show’s producer, Scientific Games, informing them that the show would no longer air after the weekend of April 30-May 1.

The core problem appears to be that Scientific Games’ multi-state lottery, with which the show is coupled, ultimately didn’t work. Instead, Monopoly Millionaires’ Club seemed to be overshadowed by lotteries that offer huge, compounding payouts, such as Powerball and Mega Millions. Just last month, the Powerball pool grew to $1.6 billion, which ended up being won by holders of three tickets, one of which remains unclaimed for a total of $528 million.

Monopoly Millionaires’ Club also was intended to have that accruing total, but the strategy didn’t pan out and Scientific Games turned it into an instant-win game, for which players buy a ticket and scratch to see if they’ve won instead of waiting for an end-of-the-week drawing. Instant-win games don’t offer compounding pots, and thus aren’t as exciting (and don’t seem as lucrative, although the odds of actually winning anything probably fall in the instant-win games’ favor) as games such as Powerball and Mega Millions.

Due to that lack of player interest, several states declined to continue offering the lottery, making continuing the game, and thus the show, economically unsustainable. Had the show not been attached to a lottery, it might have been able to remain on the air, especially considering how few game shows are currently available in national syndication.

Monopoly Millionaires’ Club is hosted by Mike & Molly’s Billy Gardell, and is shot in Las Vegas on a lavish stage that included many high-definition monitors. People who played the lottery were entered into a drawing to win a five-night trip for two to Las Vegas, where they then sat in the show’s studio audience with a chance to play the game with the possibility of winning $1 million.

Over the course of the show’s two years on the air, it minted more millionaires in a shorter period of time than any other game show in history, according to the show’s spokesman.

Monopoly Millionaires’ Club was brought to stations in 2014 by Barry Wallach, former president of NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution, with the show announced that October. It premiered in February 2015.

By the time it ends, it will have aired for 1½ TV seasons or 14 months. Station groups such as Tribune, Sinclair, Hearst, CBS, Gannett, LIN, Graham Holdings and others ran the weekly hour.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. 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.