Disney’s veteran game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, will end its run after this season, a spokesperson confirmed Friday.
“After a successful 17-year run, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire will not return in national syndication for the 2019-20 season,” said the spokesperson.
While it’s unclear whether Millionaire is being canceled to make room for Disney’s new one-hour talker, Tamron Hall, the ABC owned stations need to juggle an hour of syndicated programming to accommodate the new show.
Viral video show RightThisMinute will be back for another season, Disney confirms, and the Disney-owned stations in three markets that air CBS Television Distribution’s RachaelRay — WABC New York, WPVI Philadelphia and WTVD Raleigh-Durham N.C. — have renewed Ray for another year. That said, RightThisMinute could be moved to a later time slot. Right now, on WABC New York it airs behind Millionaire at 2 and 2:30 p.m., with both shows repeating at 1:30 and 2 a.m.
Millionaire has been hosted by The Bachelor and The Bachelorette’s Chris Harrison for the past four seasons. When the show launched into national syndication in 2002 — after a blockbuster run on ABC in primetime with Regis Philbin at the wheel that started in 1999 — it starred Meredith Vieira. She hosted until 2013 — even while she served as an anchor on NBC’s Today — when she departed to launch her own eponymous daytime talk show.
Vieira proved hard to replace, with Cedric the Entertainer taking over in 2013, followed by Terry Crews, now starring on NBC’s Brooklyn Nine- Nine, taking over in 2014. Harrison, who is finishing out the show’s run, came on board in 2015.
In the week ended May 5, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire averaged a 1.6 in households, putting it far behind game’s top tier of CBS Television Distribution’s Jeopardy! and Wheelof Fortune and Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud, all of which average household ratings that usually exceed the 6.0 mark.
Variety first reported this story.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
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.