Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Who invented "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"?

On Monday’s “Today Tonight” (Seven) (no URL), a Melbourne-based scriptwriter claimed to have invented the original TV format for the program now known as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". His on-air story had some plausibility, although it lacked a crucial link – how the ostensible format owner, UK company Celador, had learned of the original format (the scriptwriter had only ever hawked his idea around Australia).

I decided to do some research – starting from the other end, with Celador’s story of how they either (i) invented “Millionaire" themselves, or (ii) bought the format from a third party. Sure enough, Celador is cagey about the specifics here; they definitely assert that the “Millionaire" format was developed in-house, but without ever saying exactly by whom.

In contrast is the Greek-epic, poly-heroed story of the development of the “Survivor” format:


- to be continued, but here's a jucy teaser from the above URL:

"It's a bit like the old days of the British empire," said Paul Smith, managing director of the British production company Celador, which came up with the game show. "We've got a map of the world in the office colored in pink where we've placed the show. Most of the world is pink."

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