Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Wiki

The 2009 Logo with Regis Philbin.

The series returned to prime time on August 9, 2009 as an eleven night event of hour-long episodes, finishing August 23, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the U.S. version of the franchise. Regis Philbin, who hosted the original ABC version, also hosts the revival. The Academy Award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire and the 2009 economic crisis[1] helped boost interest of renewal of the game show.[2] The revival consists of a hybrid between the original ABC and syndicated formats, with the current syndicated rules (including lifelines, clock and question values) plus the return of the preliminary Fastest Finger round. The phone game from the original ABC show, plus a new video audition option, were used to select contestants.[3]

The Experts for the Ask the Expert lifeline during the 10th Anniversary in order of appearance were Sam Donaldson, George Stephanopoulos, Wolf Blitzer, Cokie Roberts, Candy Crowley, Connie Chung, Jodi Picoult, Gwen Ifill, Ken Jennings, Mo Rocca, and Bill Nye.[4] Former contestants were also in the audience throughout the revival including millionaires Robert Essig, Joe Trela, Ed Toutant, Kevin Olmstead, John Carpenter, and Nancy Christy; $0 winners Robby Roseman and Brian Fodera (the latter also previously returned on a special $0 winner edition and won $16,000); $125,000 winner Jason Block; $250,000 winner Doug Van Gundy; and $1,000 winner Dan Doody.[4] At the end of the final episode of the revival, Meredith Vieira announced that the 9 remaining contestants in the Fastest Finger podiums would be the first 9 contestants on the upcoming season of the syndicated version of the show.

This event is perhaps most well known because of Ken Basin's fatal $1,000,000 question flunk out incident on the final episode, in which he answered his final question incorrectly and suffered a devastating $475,000 loss, leaving him with only a measly $25,000 cash prize. In other unwanted history made on the show during the event, Ellen Gaines became the latest $0 winner after she flunked out on her $1,000 question.


There was also a celebrity at the end of each show, playing one question for $50,000 on behalf of their favorite charity.[5][6][7] The celebrity would receive $25,000 for charity even if their answer was incorrect, but this situation did not occur. All four lifelines were available to the celebrity, although only one of which could be used, and the timer was removed.

Celebrity Date Charities Lifeline Used
Katy Perry August 9 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Phone-a-Friend
Vanessa Williams August 10 The Maria Torres Emerging Artist Project at the Amas Musical Theatre Ask the Audience
Sherri Shepherd August 11 March of Dimes Ask the Audience
Lauren Conrad August 12 m.powerment by mark Ask the Audience
Shawn Johnson August 13 Blank Children's Hospital Ask the Audience
Rachael Ray August 16 Yum-O Organization and ASPCA Ask the Audience
Patricia Heaton August 17 Westside Pregnancy Clinic and Lighthouse Medical Missions Phone-a-Friend
Wynonna Judd August 18 Backpack Mission Ministries Phone-a-Friend
Snoop Dogg August 19 Snoop Dogg Youth Football League Ask the Audience
Steve Nash August 20 The Steve Nash Foundation Ask the Expert
Regis Philbin August 23 Cardinal Hayes High School, Bronx, NY Double Dip

*Philbin was asked the question by Meredith Vieira, host of the syndicated version without switching seats.[8]

The last episode of the 10th anniversary special featured a contestant named Ken Basin; an entertainment lawyer, Harvard Law graduate and former Jeopardy! contestant, who went on to play for the Clock format’s first Million Dollar Question. The question referred to Lyndon Baines Johnson's fondness for Fresca. Using his one remaining lifeline, Basin asked the audience for help, which supported his own hunch of Yoo-Hoo rather than the correct answer. He decided to go for it and went on to lose $475,000, the first time in the history of the U.S. version of Millionaire that a contestant has answered the final question incorrectly.

After the show’s broadcast, Basin posted an entry in his blog about his experience in the show, including why he went for Yoo-Hoo. He explains that he remembers a photo of LBJ meeting the Beatles in which he's drinking a Yoo-Hoo; a photo which he has not been able to find since.[9]

  • Basin's Million Dollar Question:
$1,000,000 (15 of 15) - 4:39 (0:45 + 3:54 banked time)
Category: Bottoms Up!
For ordering his favorite beverages on demand, LBJ had four buttons installed in the Oval Office labeled "coffee," "tea," "Coke" and what?
"Ask the Audience" lifeline used.
• A: Fresca • B: V8
• C: Yoo-Hoo • D: A&W
Ask the Audience Results: A: 15% • B: 12% • C: 40% • D: 33%


  • Episode 1 (August 9, 2009)
Brad Abbey ($1,000)
Rob Placek ($25,000)
Gary Cousins (continued)
  • Episode 2 (August 10, 2009)
Gary Cousins ($4,000)
Michelle Ribeiro ($16,000)
John Zimcosky (continued)
  • Episode 3 (August 11, 2009)
John Zimcosky ($25,000)
Brian Slope ($50,000)
Dina Grassi ($8,000 or $16,000 - see trivia)
Anthony Sloan (continued)
  • Episode 4 (August 12, 2009)
Anthony Sloan ($25,000)
Trevor Schultz ($100,000)
Angela Watt (continued)
  • Episode 5 (August 13, 2009)
Angela Watt ($1,000)
Jacob Shaha ($25,000)
Eddie Lawhorn (continued)
  • Episode 6 (August 16, 2009)
Eddie Lawhorn ($50,000)
Rebecca Kesler ($50,000)
Ellen Gaines ($0- lost on $1,000)
Leah Asbury (continued)
  • Episode 7 (August 17, 2009)
Leah Asbury ($50,000)
Lee-Ann Whitlock ($1,000)
Jennifer Kiesel (continued)
  • Episode 8 (August 18, 2009)
Jennifer Kiesel ($1,000)
Nik Bonaddio ($100,000)
Leslie Salyer (continued)
  • Episode 9 (August 19, 2009)
Leslie Salyer ($1,000)
Richard Mason ($25,000)
Donald Leake ($1,000)
Chris Maslowski (continued)
  • Episode 10 (August 20, 2009)
Chris Maslowski ($100,000)
Liz Schuller ($50,000)
Jim Robinson (continued)
  • Episode 11 (August 23, 2009)
Jim Robinson ($25,000 - lost on $100,000)
Ken Basin ($25,000 - lost on $1,000,000)


  • There was a known widescreen version of the intro.
  • According to Mike Pulcini, a finalist on the 8/11 show, Dina Grassi apperared on the Hot Seat, but her appeareance was edited out on-air for unknown reasons. This was possibly true, since after Brian Slope's run, there were only 8 contestants. She won $8,000 or $16,000.

Daily Episode ratings

Order Date Rating Share Rating/Share
Rank (Night) Rank(Week)
1 8/9 4.4 8 1.6/5 6.99 #6 #15
2 8/10 4.7 8 1.6/5 7.24 #5 #22
3 8/11 3.9 7 1.3/4 5.94 #7 #21
4 8/12 4.2 8 1.3/5 6.44 #5 #20
5 8/13 5.4 10 1.9/7 8.44 #1 #10
6 8/16 4.4 8 1.5/5 7.02 #3 #16
7 8/17 4.5 8 1.4/4 6.97 #3 #21
8 8/18 4.1 7 1.4/5 6.25 #7 #24
9 8/19 4.5 8 1.4/5 6.88 #2 #22
10 8/20 4.5 8 1.4/5 6.84 #4 #23
11 8/23 4.6 8 1.5/5 7.63 #1 #18


External links