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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Also known as Millionaire
Genre Game show
Directed by Peter Ots
Presented by Eddie McGuire
Country of origin  Australia
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 300 (as of 13 March 2010)[1]
Location(s) Melbourne, Victoria
Running time 47 minutes
Original channel Nine Network
Original run 18 April 1999 – 3 April 2006
22 October 2007 – 26 November 2007
20 April 2009 – present – present
Related shows 1 vs. 100 (2007)
External links
Official website

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is an Australian television game show which currently offers a maximum prize of $1,000,000 for correctly answering 15 successive multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty as a team. The show was originally based on and follows the same general format of the original version of the show from the United Kingdom, and is part of the international Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise.

As of 13 March 2010, there have been 300 episodes, 653 contestants, 6,980 questions and the show has given away $29,463,000 cash.



Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? debuted in Australia on 18 April 1999 on the Nine Network and was hosted by Eddie McGuire.

Beginning with an eleven question format starting at $1000, this was later changed to 15 and offered a top prize of $1 million. However, in the 2007 revision of the show, the new maximum prize money on offer is $5 million, however in the 2009 revision the top prize reverted to $1 million. The show ran in the Monday 8:30 pm time slot between 1999 and 2006 except for a brief two week period in 2004 where a shortened half hour edition was put up against Seven's Deal or No Deal in the 5:30 pm time slot leading into the 6:00 pm evening news.[2]

This was the very first country to have a fastest finger round where two people answered the fastest at the same time. As a result, another question was asked but neither of them got it right, so another question was asked. The fastest finger later on, instead of giving out one answer, two answers had to be given out to avoid any random guessing from happening. Later still, the contestants playing the fastest finger had to rank the four options in the correct order (as per the question), to avoid people winning Fastest Finger on a guess.

In 2003, during that year's television non-ratings period a British episode in which Charles Ingram cheated all the way to the top prize was aired on the Nine Network, featuring Ingram's run in its entirety, and watched by over two million Australians. At the time, the Australian version did not yet have a top prize winner.

On 9 February 2006, it was announced that McGuire would become the new CEO of the Nine Network,[3] filling a vacancy created by the departure of David Gyngell in May 2005.[4] As a result of this, McGuire had to sacrifice his on-air commitments. However, unlike the The AFL Footy Show where McGuire was replaced with Garry Lyon and James Brayshaw, the network could not find a suitable replacement.[5] The final episode aired on 3 April 2006.[6]


Return of Millionaire

On 29 January 2007, McGuire returned to the working in front of the camera, hosting the Australian version of the quiz show, 1 vs. 100. This was followed up with McGuire announcing on 18 May 2007 that he would be resigning as CEO of the Nine Network, and would be taking on a new position in programming services, as well as more on-screen roles.[7] With the resignation officially taking effect on 30 June 2007, McGuire continued hosting 1 vs. 100 until poor rating forced the hiatus of the program in October 2007.[8]

On 20 August, it was announced that Nine's nightly quiz show Temptation would be rested for the remainder of the year and replaced with nightly half hour editions of Millionaire to be aired between 7:00 and 7:30 pm[9] However, with the return of David Gyngell to the CEO role in September[10] he immediately announced that a new version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? would be broadcast live to air from 7:00 pm for 90 minutes on Monday night and that Temptation would be run on Tuesday to Friday nights from 7:00 pm.[11]

2007 format

Question Value Amount Lost If Wrong Answer Missed Answer Value
1 $100 $0 $0
2 $200 $100 $0
3 $300 $200 $0
4 $500 $300 $0
5 $1,000 $500 $0
6 $2,000 $0 $1,000
7 $4,000 $1,000 $1,000
8 $8,000 $3,000 $1,000
9 $16,000 $7,000 $1,000
10 $32,000 $15,000 $1,000
11 $64,000 $0 $32,000
12 $125,000 $32,000 $32,000
13 $250,000 $93,000 $32,000
14 $500,000 $218,000 $32,000
15 $1,000,000 $468,000 $32,000
16 $5,000,000 $968,000 $32,000

While this version is very similar to the original, with the program's return comes an additional lifeline which is obtained once a contestant reaches the second safe level of $32,000. The lifeline is called "Switch the Question" (also known as a "Flip"), where the contestant may dismiss the current question, see the answer, and to play a new one worth the same dollar amount. However, they will not have any lifelines used on the discarded question returned to them.

The lifeline first appeared in the UK program in a number of celebrity editions, and most recently in its 300th episode in 2002. It was also used the US version from 2004-2008. The idea was taken from the UK show The People Versus.

The most notable change to the format is the addition of a bonus 16th question, which is worth $5 million. After answering question 15 correctly, they have the option of going for the bonus question. If the contestant gives the correct answer, he or she will win $5 million (the largest top prize in the history of Australian TV game shows). However, if an incorrect answer is given, then his or her winnings will plummet down to only $32,000; a devastating $968,000 loss.

In the past, contestants that use the Phone a Friend lifeline had to give out three phone numbers to choose from. However, in some cases, their friends sometimes were ready to look up the answers (such as asking people around for them, or going online for the answers). In the 2007 version, since the show was live, whenever a contestant was in the studio, their three friends would be seated in another studio room (in a Channel 9 studio in their nearby city) and not see or hear any questions or answers. This prevented any unfair advantage as they can watch the show live and look up the answers online.

Also, if McGuire believes that the contestant is taking too long to make a decision, the contestant may be put on a shot clock of 60 seconds. If the shot clock expires, the contestant is forced to walk away with their current winnings. The host has to make the decision, which is unlike the US version, which adopted a fixed 15 second (first five), 30 seconds (second five), 45 seconds (questions 11-14) and total time saved plus 45 seconds (15th question) clock in 2008.

Another notable change is the elimination of the preliminary Fastest Finger First rounds, similar to the syndicated US show. McGuire simply calls out the contestant's name and he or she comes into the set and immediately sits in the hot seat, as opposed to before when 10 contestants had to answer a question correctly in the fastest time to get into the hot seat.

The series ran for its scheduled 6 episodes from 22 October to 26 November 2007.[citation needed]

2010 specials

On 27 February 2010, a prime time special called Whizz Kids: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was broadcast in which teams of students tried to win up to $1,000,000 for their school. Another episode was broadcast on 6 March 2010.

The special used the original format. Two lifelines also changed slightly. The Phone a Friend lifeline was called Phone the Teacher, students being able to call a teacher from their school. Also, as the show was prerecorded, the teachers had to be in a room where they could not see or hear the questions and answers in the studio to prevent them from looking up the answers through books or online or asking other teachers for the answer. The second lifeline change was that the Ask the Audience lifeline was called Ask the School, in which students from the contestants' school could vote using electronic keypads while they were watching the show being recorded. In addition, the "Switch the Question" lifeline was no longer available.

In total, the three schools, Engadine High School in NSW, Blackburn High School in Victoria and Frankston High School, also in Victoria, won $258,000 (the latter walked away with $8,000 whilst the remaining two schools won $125,000). The answers to the questions in which they walked away wounded up being wrong. Also, joke answers were introduced in these specials (most notably for the D choice), such as in a question about what attracts magnets in the second episode, a D) choice was offered as All the single ladies. For the record, the answer was 'iron' (but only after the Blackburn students asked the school).

Tony and John Koutsonikolas' $125,000 Question, 6 March, 2010 (used the 50:50 lifeline on the question)

$125,000 Question (12 of 15) - No time limit
Which of these painters in considered part of the Post-Impressionist movement?
• A: Monet • B: Van Gogh
• C: Dali • D: Renoir

Tony and John Koutsonikolas' $250,000 Question

$250,000 Question (13 of 15) - No time limit
Including Kevin Rudd, how many men have been Australian prime minister?
• A: 25 • B: 26
• C: 27 • D: 28

The boys chose not to answer, and left with $125,000, not wanting to risk $93,000.

Hot Seat (2009 format)

An abbreviated format of the show, Millionaire Hot Seat began production in 2009. Like the original Millionaire, it is hosted by Eddie McGuire. Airing daily at 5:30pm, it is currently in its second season.

Notable contestants


$1 million winners

To date there have only been two winners of the million dollars, both on the regular version:

  • Rob "Coach" Fulton, 17 October 2005[12]
Which of these popular '60s TV shows premiered first?
• A: Bewitched • B: Get Smart
• C: Hogan's Heroes • D: I Dream of Jeannie
  • Martin Flood, 14 November 2005 (Used the 50-50 lifeline in the final question)[13]
Who was never 'Time' magazine's 'Man of the Year'?
• A: Adolf Hitler • B: Ayatollah Khomeini
• C: Joseph Stalin • D: Mao Zedong

$500,000 question incorrectly answered

Only one contestant, Red Symons, in a celebrity special, has answered the 14th ($500,000) question incorrectly, losing $218,000 and leaving with only $32,000.

Red Symons' question:

In which field did 16th century Italian Benvenuto Cellini achieve fame?
• A: Painting • B: Architecture
• C: Music • D: Sculpture

Top prize losers (final question wrong)

To date only two people have got the million dollar question wrong, both on the Hot Seat edition:

  • Barry Soraghan: 8 June 2009 (Hot Seat Edition)
$1 Million (15 of 15) - 0:45 time limit
Which of Hollywood's four Warner brothers died on the eve of their landmark premiere of "The Jazz Singer"?
• A: Albert • B: Harry
• C: Jack • D: Sam
  • Jeff Tarr: 28 September 2009 (Hot Seat Edition)
$1 Million (15 of 15) - 0:45 time limit
Horowitz is the original surname of which American actor?
• A: Matt Damon • B: Johnny Depp
• C: Julia Roberts • D: Winona Ryder

Prior to the Hot Seat Edition the most money lost on the show was $218,000, when Red Symons lost on his penultimate question. No other person had lost such a huge amount of money.

$500,000 winners

  • Trevor Sauer: 4 September 2000
  • William Laing: 16 October 2000
  • Dave and Denise Moser: June, 2001 (Used the 50-50 and Phone a Friend lifelines in the final question)
  • Maria McCabe: 8 April 2002 (Used the 50-50 and Ask the Audience lifelines in the final question)
  • Molly Meldrum: 28 April 2003
  • Andrew Lockett: 8 September 2003
  • Scott Smith: 4 October 2004
  • Shane Warne and Trevor Sauer: 14 February 2005
  • Clifford Plumpton: 27 June 2005
  • Yael Blinco: 21 November 2005 ("Mummy Wants To Be A Millionaire" special)

$250,000 winners

  • Patrick Spooner: 28 April 1999
  • Brett McDonald: 3 July 2000
  • Evan Hudleston: 6 July 2009 (Hot Seat Edition)
  • Oliver Pennington: 27 July 2009 (Hot Seat Edition)
  • Kevin Hoey: 12 August 2009 (Hot Seat Edition)
  • John Botfa: 7 September 2009 (Hot Seat Edition)
  • Mike Curtis: 9 November 2009 (Hot Seat Edition)

$0 winners

Hatch's $500 Question:

What is 11 multiplied by 12?
• A: 111 • B: 121
• C: 123 • D: 132

Hatch was the first contestant in the Australian version to miss a question in the first tier, therefore leaving with nothing[14]. There have been other contestants on the Australian version who would also fail to reach the first safe level later on, leaving with nothing, but Hatch is the more notable contestant due to his fame of being the first ever Survivor winner and the first $0 winner on the Australian version.


On 27 October 2004, a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? interactive multiplayer DVD game was released.[15]


  1. ^ Gordon-Stewart, Samuel (2006-04-04). "Salute To Eddie!". Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  2. ^ Warneke, Ross (2004-06-23). "No big Deal for Nine". The Age. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  3. ^ Hogan, Jesse (2006-02-09). "McGuire CEO show live on air". The Age. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  4. ^ "Gyngell resigns from Nine". APP (The Age). 2005-05-09. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  5. ^ Fidgeon, Robert (2006-04-12). "Millionaire host – you decide". Herald Sun.,21985,18771553-2902,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  6. ^ Gibson, Joel (2006-04-04). "No McGuire, no Millionaire". The Sydney Morning Herald.,21985,18771553-2902,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  7. ^ Harrison, Dan (2007-05-18). "'I wasn't given the flick'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  8. ^ "Eddie's quiz 'boned' by Nine". The Courier-Mail. 2007-09-29.,20797,22502696-7642,00.html?from=public_rss. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  9. ^ Connolly, Fiona (2007-08-20). "Temptation axed for McGuire". The Daily Telegraph.,22049,22276288-5006014,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  10. ^ "David Gyngell to run Nine again". The Daily Telegraph. 2007-10-25.,22049,22480754-5006014,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  11. ^ "Nine boss David Gyngell puts Eddie McGuire to work". Herald Sun. 2007-10-05.,21985,22536082-5006022,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  12. ^ "Our first quiz show millionaire". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2005-10-19. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  13. ^ "Second Aussie 'Millionaire' winner emerges". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2005-11-15. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  14. ^ "Richard Hatch on Aussie Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  15. ^ "DVD details". Sanity. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 

External links


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