Is there now a Millionaire hosting curse?
Disney-ABC Domestic Television on Monday named Dallas native Chris Harrison as the new host of its syndicated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game show.
Harrison replaces Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews, who just replaced Cedric The Entertainer this season. Cerdic was named host of the show in 2013 to replace Meredith Vieira, who hosted for eleven seasons prior.
Regis Philbin hosted the ABC primetime version of the show from 1999 to 2002.
Excluding fill-ins, Millionaire now has had five hosts helm the franchise, tying Pyramid for the honor and is just one below The Price Is Right and Family Feud with game show franchises who’ve had the most hosts.
Until Steve Harvey took over as host in 2010, Feud was known to have a “curse”, with a misfortune usually happening to the host after the fact, or the host unable to keep the job. The subject was even featured in a 2002 E! True Hollywood Story, featuring the woes of former Feud hosts Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, and Louie Anderson.
Harrison of course, is best known for his low-profile hosting duties on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, two longtime reality TV franchises and will remain in those roles. In recent years, Harrison also hosted the Miss America Pageant for ABC. He did host a game show in 2001 for Game Show Network called Mail Masters, with Brooke Burns.
The revolving door of Millionaire emcees hasn’t helped. This season, the show is down 19 percent in the key 25-54 female demo and is far behind the other game shows in the genre.
Millionaire has had numerous changes in format over the years, including a “jump the question” gimmick and eliminating key elements from the ABC primetime version.
Millionaire is cleared primarily on the ABC O&Os, but in Chicago, the show airs at 4 p.m. on WPWR-TV, and not on WLS-TV, which has never aired the syndicated version of the show. Millionaire did however, air on CBS O&O WBBM-TV in its inaugural syndicated season in prime access before WGN-TV picked up for a daytime slot in 2003. WPWR has aired it for the last two seasons.