Prologue:  As Destiny's Child once asked, "Can you pay my bills, can you pay my automo-bills, can you pay my telephone bills?" Regis Philbin whines about that, and while I'm talking about Regis Philbin, here's my article on "The Million Dollar Game Show Craze."  I would like to thank my 7th grade social studies teacher, Mr. Davis, for letting me take the time to write this article.  "I do think he does, so him and me (Regis Philbin) are not through."

The Million-Dollar Game Show Craze

Will It Be Around For Very Long?

By Jason Larsen

August 14, 1999 marked the day everyone looked forward to: viewing one of the most family-oriented shows in the history of the prime-time tube, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?". Its theme song is very unusual and could very well be known in the millennium after this one. The lights and the drama of this impeccable game show are absolutely fantastic. What is the most well known feature of this game show is its host, Regis Philbin, who has been able to interact with the contestants in the most wonderful way. For example, when a contestant by the name of Doug Van Gundy won and shook Regis' hand, Regis introduced him to the audience and said "Yeah! (As if he found an extremely enthusiastic contestant) and "that's my final answer".

Sometime last year, FOX tried to duplicate the success of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" by creating its own game show, "Greed". The premise of the game is very simple: the host asks a qualifying question to six people. The five people closest to the correct answer move on to the main game in which the captain selects answers to eight questions. Sometimes there is a round called "The Terminator", and that round gives a player a chance to eliminate another player in a one-question showdown. The game is played in teams. The brightest crayon in the box could walk away with $2,000,000 in cash. For this show, FOX picked one of the nicest and most considerate men to be the host; Chuck Woolery, who also was emcee on the original "Wheel of Fortune".

Again last year, CBS came up with "Winning Lines", based on a British game show. It is about numbers and what most of the contestants try to figure out is what is the numerical answer to a trivia question. Dick Clark is the host.

The worst talk show host in television history also hosted a game show -- Maury Povich, and it was the new "Tweenty One". The original one was rigged by Jack Barry and Dan Enright, and was dramatized in the movie "Quiz Show". The object of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible by answering trivia questions. The higher the point value, the more difficult the question.

All of these new game shows point out the fact that there is a lot of audience interest in these big-money give aways; however, will they have the staying power to last on the airwaves for any amount of time, or are these latest shows merely a passing craze?