John Lee's Introduction to "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"

"From the four corners of the continent, we have flown them to New York City. People just like you, who called our phone number dreaming of instant riches. Will one of them seize this day, and have the knowledge and the courage to change the course of their lives in one short evening? Starting tonight, and every night for the next two weeks, join us from New York City as we play...

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Regis: Thank you. Thank you very much. Good evening, everybody, and welcome to the most dramatic television program you or I or anyone else has ever seen, where in one night someone could become an instant millionaire, just by answering 15 questions. But now let's meet 10 people who called our phone number and are ready to win a million dollars. And they are...(see below)"

Hello!  This is your guide to the biggest, most popular game show that has hit the TV the world over. I'm John Lee, one of the fans of the show.  This show started out in the U.K. and has spread to many countries, but this guide is for the U.S. version only. I will mention some of the other versions and their hosts, and anything about them, IF I KNOW ABOUT THEM.

If you'd like to try out for the new SUPER MILLIONAIRE, call 1-800-999-7878. Phone lines will be available from February 16-24, and open from 7 PM to 3 AM. Just like the original, you will be given 5 put-in-order questions, and will be allowed one call per contest day. The top prize is TEN MILLION DOLLARS! Here's the table: $1,000-$2,000-$3,000-$4,000-$5,000-$10,000-$20,000-$30,000-$50,000-$100,000-$500,000-$1 MILLION-$2.5 MILLION-$5 MILLION-$10 MILLION. The $5,000 and $100,000 levels are the guarantee points. We still have the usual 3 lifelines in 50:50, Ask The Audience, and Phone A Friend, but after the $100,000 question, in come 2 more lifelines, and they are both NEW: They are "Three Wise Men" (although a woman will be part of the trio in many of the shows) in which a triad of former major quiz show winners or high-level experts in a variety of fields will be isolated offstage on a video screen to provide consensus help to a player; and "Double Dip", where you'll have 2 chances to answer the question. Says the show's executive producer Michael Davies: "However, the risk factor is heightened because if you decide to go for a Double Dip, you give up your opportunity to walk away from the question. So, if you are at $1 million and say Double Dip on the $2.5 million question, you are automatically putting $900,000 at risk with no way out." So, just like the traditional 3 lifelines, these 2 lifelines have to used CAREFULLY as well!

REGIS PHILBIN is the host of the U.S. version of the show.  Many people know him from his morning show "Live! With Regis & Kelly" (formerly "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee" and as soon as Kathie Lee Gifford had left, it became "Live! With Regis", and is now "Live! With Regis & Kelly" when "All My Children" co-star Kelly Ripa came aboard after she won the spot that many other women audtioned for), which is now in its 16th season on the air. He has worked with several people other than Kathie Lee and Kelly, for example, he worked with Steve Allen, the very first host of the "Tonight Show". In the '70's, he hosted his very first 2 game shows "The Neighbors," and "Almost Anything Goes." He has also been a guest in the movie "Dudley Do-Right," and the famous TV game show "Password." He is now seen in commercials for Take Control butter and Earthgrains bagels. He is married to his wife Joy and has 2 daughters, Joanna and Jennifer.

MEREDITH VIEIRA is the host of the new Syndicated Daytime version. She previously worked as a correspondent of the CBS News show "60 Minutes". She's one of the co-hosts on ABC Daytime's "The View," which also stars Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, and Star Jones.

CHRIS TARRANT is the host of the U.K. version of the show. He is a talk radio DJ in London. He's made several appearances with Regis before on "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee," talking with Regis about how HIS show has done during the past few years.

PAMELA WALLIN is the host of the Canada version of the show. She has been the most lustrous journalist at the CTV network. She's also the founder of her own company, Pamela Wallin Productions.

JEREMY MAGGS is the host of the South African version of the show. Like Chris Tarrant, he is a radio DJ, but unlike Chris, he also has been involved in broadcast journalism in South Africa.

Here are the rules of the game, even though, there are SO MANY versions of the show itself:


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The picture above is an example.  After Regis introduces everybody to the contestants with "And they are...(enter the contestants here)", he tells them "OK, contestants, congratulations on getting this far. Now, here's how it works: In a moment, a question and 4 answers will appear on your screens. The one who puts those answers in the correct order AND in the fastest time will be our next player. Audience, we need complete silence here, thank you. Here comes the question."

I'll give you an example so that everyone knows the correct answer to this one.  Are you ready?  Here we go:

Put these memorable "Millionaire" contestants in order, based on how much money they won in the hot seat, starting with the lowest.

             A.  Michael Shutterly                                                   B. Robby Roseman

             C.  John Carpenter                                                     D. Doug Van Gundy

OK, TIMES UP EVERYBODY.  Here's the correct order starting with the lowest.

B. Robby Roseman ($0)

D. Doug Van Gundy ($250,000)

A. Michael Shutterly ($500,000)

C. John Carpenter ($1 MILLION)

Did you get it right in the fastest time?  Well, if you did, LUCKY YOU! Now it's time to play.....


The picture above is the "Millionaire" ladder and lifelines. Click on it to go to the official ABC site for the show. For the Syndicated version, click HERE. For the new SUPER MILLIONAIRE, click HERE. Now if you are a new player, here's how it works (I'll try my best to imitate Regis here):

REGIS: "OK, John, well you know the rules. You're 15 questions away from winning $1 million. Here's how we play: The more questions you get right the more money you'll win. Once you reach the $1,000 or the $32,000 level (white-colored), you're guaranteed to leave here with at least that much money. And to help you win as much as possible, you have three lifelines (explained below) to help you out: 50:50, Ask The Audience, and finally, of course, you can Phone A Friend anywhere in the country.  So, if you're ready, John Lee, let's do it. Let's play "WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?"!



The first lifeline I want to talk about is called 50:50 because you have a 50:50 shot at getting any question right, with just 2 wrong answers eliminated-REGIS: "Computer, would you please take away 2 wrong answers for John, leaving him just one wrong answer and the correct one."


The second lifeline I want to talk about is called Ask The Audience because, with this lifeline, you can poll the studio audience and see what they think. Now most people go with the answer with the highest percentage, but I have to warn you, THE AUDIENCE IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!-REGIS: "OK, audience, John needs a little help. On your keypads, using A, B, C, or D (depending on whether or not the 50:50 was used), please vote now."


The third lifeline I want to talk about is called Phone A Friend because, with this lifeline, you can call one of 5 people on your list. Now I won't mention who does the "Phone-A-Friend" for all versions, but I know that AT&T does it for the U.S. version. Now on all versions, you have 30 seconds to discuss the question and answers with the person you call. Once the clock hits zero, unfortunately, the call is disconnected.

As on all versions of the show, more than one lifeline can be used on any one question, but each lifeline can be used only once, and I repeat, ONLY ONCE! (Once the player uses a lifeline, a little red "X" appears over it.) Having said that, use them wisely! You can walk away with the money you've won so far, if you're stumped and out of lifelines, but as I've seen many people do it before, IT'S SMART TO USE ALL THREE OF THE LIFELINES BEFORE YOU STOP AND TAKE THE MONEY! You can decide what to do, after you see the question.


Take these for granted, as they will prove helpful to you on the show (That is, which one to use, and when you use it).

50:50-If you can take away at least 2 answers you believe is wrong, that's fine, but if you know only one that's totally wrong, use this lifeline. This takes away the 2 totally wrong answers, leaving as we all know it, one wrong answer and the correct one. If you're in doubt about the audience or the Phone-A-Friend, or maybe even yourself, use this lifeline. Also use it in case you're doutbful about the 3 remaining answers. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. When I play the online game at, I look and see that at least one is wrong, and if I'm doubtful about any of the others, I use the 50:50. I also recommend using it BEFORE you use the Phone A Friend, which I'll detail later. (NOTE: The online game, and all unofficial online games related to the show do not, I repeat, DO NOT award any real money!!! THEY ARE JUST FOR FUN!!!)

Ask The Audience-As I'm pretty sure you're aware of this, but many people have said it, and now I'll say it: Limit this lifeline to pop culture, general knowledge, current events, and history & geography questions. And as I've said before, THE AUDIENCE IS NOT ALWAYS CORRECT! This also applies to themed-shows, too, such as the Oscars Special done on March 24, 2000. If all the questions focus on one particular subject, mostly pop culture, which is what this is, and if you haven't seen a particular movie, or don't know which movies, actors, and/or actresses won what Oscars or if you don't know what categories the movies actors and/or actresses won in, etc., use this lifeline.

Phone A Friend-Make sure you call one person, AND ONLY ONE PERSON, even though there may be a room full of about 13 million people who think they know the answer. This also applies to people who have a computer, even if it contains a fast connection to the Internet. During the first Tournament of Champions, Michael Shutterly, the show's first half-millionaire on that list, as well as the show's first male half-millionaire, tried that at $16,000, and it cost him $7,000 (he'd already won $8,000), sending him back to $1,000. Also, you might want to ask for a certainty percentage. If it's high, go for it, and if not, don't. And as always, even if you're Phone A Friend says they're 100% sure, don't always believe that. Why? Well, Rudy Reber, a comedian, who had gotten up to the $500K question, phoned another comedian, Will Durst, and the question was Which Hollywood figure directed Michael Jackson's video "Bad"? and the choices were Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and John Landis. Will told him it was Landis, and he said he was 100% sure TWICE. Turns out Will was WRONG! It was Scorsese. It cost Rudy a whopping $218K, sending him back to $32K. (He already won a quarter-million, a.k.a. $250K.)I also recommend that this be used AFTER the 50:50. As I've seen on many shows, the phone friend will ask you to repeat the question and the 4 answers again, which, as we know, can take up a lot of time on the clock. When you have it narrowed down to 2 answers, you'll have more time to discuss the question and the answers. You will also have more time to repeat the question and choices, if need be. This was demonstrated on the Oscars Special: Roy Schmidt, a student at the University of Oklahoma, phoned his undergraduate friend from the University of Kansas, Robert. The question was In "The Big Chill," which college did the group of seven friends graduate from? The choices were Indiana University, University of Michigan, Univeristy of Wisconsin and Georgetown. Robert said "Indiana?" And as Roy said "Are you sure?" Robert said "Say the 4 again." Roy then asked if Robert was sure as Regis told him to repeat the choices to Robert, which took up another few seconds on the clock, and by the time there were only 10 seconds left, Robert ended up saying "Gosh, Roy, I don't know," by the time the clock ran out. Roy then ended up having to burn the 50:50, which left him Michigan and Wisconsin, he said Michigan, nailed it for the guaranteed $1,000. He then went on to win $4,000.


This part will focus which lifelines serve the most helpful when it comes to answering the first 5 questions, as I have seen about 12 or 13 people on the U.S. series, and only 3 on the U.K. series, at least 1 of which, from each series, was a woman, go away with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! So, in conclusion, take these for granted. Here are the strategies:

50:50-If you think the audience might not know the answer, and the same also applies to your Phone A Friends, use this lifeline, BUT DO NOT NEGLECT THE OTHER LIFELINES! Why? Well, Robby Roseman, a Chicago Mercantile Exchanger, became the first person to crash on the $100 question, which was: Hannibal crossed the Alps using what animal? The choices were Rhinoceri, Elephants, Llamas, and Chihuahuas. He uses the 50:50, narrowing the choices down to Elephants and Llamas, and at the same time, neglects the other lifelines. He chooses Llamas, and after watching that fateful move, we know the correct answer was Elephants.

Ask The Audience-As I noted above, DO NOT ALWAYS BELIEVE THE AUDIENCE! Why? Well, Steve Fayne, an Egg Harbor casino worker, did that with this $500 question: According to the nursery rhyme, which child is "full of grace?" The choices were: Monday's, Tuesday's, Thursday's and Saturday's. Well, after polling the audience, here were the results: 42-38-8-16. He goes with them, thinking they're always right on the first 5, if not any of the last 10, and by doing that, he bombed it. The correct answer was Tuesday's. So he went home with a big Goose Egg.

Phone A Friend-As I also noted above, DO NOT ALWAYS TRUST YOUR FRIEND, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO DO IT! I have 2 examples to prove this: 1-Jeremy Conklin, an electrician, phoned his dad Sam, on this $1,000 question: Since 1920, what state has held the nation's earliest presidential primary? The choices were Iowa, Vermont, Delaware, and New Hampshire. Sam said Iowa, but he wasn't totally sure. So, Jeremy trusted him, and they both bombed it. The correct answer was New Hampshire. 2-Sal Mecca, a Middletown state trooper, phoned his law colleague Steve, on this $1,000 question: What is the main ingredient in a traditional frittata? The choices were Bread, Flour, Orange Juice, and Eggs. Steve deliberated on Flour and Eggs(since Sal used the 50:50 first), and before time ran out, shouted "Go With Flour!" So Sal went with flour, and bombed it. The correct answer was Eggs. And speaking of eggs, he went home with a big GOOSE EGG. BAGEL, NIL, NADA, SQUAT, BUPKUS, DIDDLY, NAUGHT, IN OTHER WORDS, NOTHING!

So, in conclusion, DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR LIFELINES! This is how many people end up leaving with $0, $1,000, or $32,000: They will leave one, two, or even worse, ALL THREE LIFELINES UNTOUCHED! The amount will appear in a sign below the words "TOTAL PRIZE MONEY," depending on how much money they won. If they win the million, whether or not they call their parents to tell them that they were going to win the million (see below), then their name will appear above the word "MILLIONAIRE." Remember, any miss sends you back to the last guarantee level you passed. Any miss on the first 5(which, all of you are familiar with), whether it be the $100 question or the $1,000 question, and all money won is lost, and I know how big of a heart-breaker that is. I even have 1 on tape: Jon Futrell, a Mayfield sports writer, from the Oscars Special. He lost at $200: What performer has hosted more Oscar presentations than any one else? Bob Hope, Billy Crystal, Johnny Carson or Jerry Lewis? Well, Jon says he saw an Internet quiz that mentioned hosted shows, and realized that Billy Crystal will be hosting a 7th time, so he goes with Billy Crystal, and bombs it. The correct answer was Bob Hope. Why? Well, Bob Hope, as Regis points out, hosted 10 times and co-hosted 6 times, and Billy Crystal hosted 6 times, and March 26, 2 days after my birthday, was his 7th. However, Jon, Robby, Brian, Steve, Jeremy, and Sal returned for a "ZERO CLUB" edition of the show to bring back those who won NOTHING, and the results are below.


This is the 2-part show which brought back every person who won nothing on the show. There were 13 people on our version of the show, and here are the results:

Brian Fodera-$16,000

Steve Fayne-$64,000

Jon Futrell-$64,000

Martin Poteralski-$250,000

James Dinan-$64,000


ROBBY ROSEMAN-The 1st of the 2, this Chicago Mercantile exchanger, who said he was wearing his lucky shorts from a Bulls game, was the first in the series WORLDWIDE to miss the first question. Here it is: Hannibal crossed the Alps using what animal? Rhinoceri, Elephants, Llamas, or Chihuahuas? Robby isn't so sure, and says he's not going out on the first question, so he uses his 50:50, leaving Llamas and Elephants. He goes with Llamas, and with that move, HE BOMBS IT! The correct answer was Elephants. EVERYBODY is filled with disgust, as Regis says: "Robby's gone before he's here! Take those lucky shorts off and BURN THEM!" And even worse, he tells Robby, "I'm sorry, Robby. It's over." I know that for sure! He got in that hot seat very quickly, and got out of it very quickly, too. Too bad.

BRIAN FODERA-The 2nd of the 2, this lawyer from Newton, Massachussets; in the Boston area, was very nervous during his FIRST run. Here was HIS question: According to the nursery rhyme, what did Little Jack Horner pull from a pie? Ribbon, Plum, Blackbird, or Little Jill Horner? Well, as he said, he was very nervous about nursery rhyme questions at this early stage of the game, so he picks Blackbird, and with that move (with all lifelines untouched, by the way), HE BOMBS IT! The correct answer was, as everyone of us knows, is PLUM! But, as I noted above, when he returned, he won $16,000.


Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

This is John Carpenter, a 31-year old IRS tax-collector from Hamden, Connecticut.  He became the first person ever to win the million dollars.  Here was his $1 million question.

Which of these U.S. Presidents appeared in the television series "Laugh-In?"

                                       A. Lyndon Johnson                                              B. Richard Nixon

                                       C. Jimmy Carter                                                  D. Gerald Ford

He decides to do something cool: Use the "Phone-A-Friend" to call his dad, Tom. Here's how it all spells out for you. Take it away, John!

John: "Uh, hi dad."

Tom:  "Hi."

John: "Um, I don't really need your help. I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to win the million dollars." (Hangs up with 5 seconds remaining)

"Because the U.S. President that appeared in 'Laugh-In' is Richard Nixon, that's my final answer.

John knows it, Regis knows it, and even the audience knows it, now all of America will witness this amazing event in TV history:


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I would like to credit ITV and ABC for their hard work on the pictures I have on this page. Thanks, guys!

The phone number above was 1-900-933-9391, with a cost of $1.50 a minute. That was during the August run. Then it changed to this: 1-877-258-5808. That was during the November run. Now here's the new phone number, and it's permanent: 1-800-433-8321. Call this number between the times of the opening and closing dates. That is, on the last day, the phone lines close at 2 AM EASTERN TIME. So, to ensure yourself the trip to New York, pick up a touch-tone phone between the hours of 8AM-2AM ET and call the 800 number above. ONE CALL PER CONTEST DAY. PHONE LINES CURRENTLY CLOSED!