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What I Learned – ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ Turns 20

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August 16 marks 20 years since Who Wants To Be A Millionaire debuted in the U.S. as the first game show in the country with a million-dollar prize, ultimately running for 20 seasons before its cancelation in May. The Onion looks back at the greatest moments in the program’s 20-year history.


1998:

Grand cash prize is changed to a round $1 million after focus groups react negatively to Who Wants To Win $972,000.


1999:

That guy won.


2000:

Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Gang charity forced to shutter its doors after Norm Macdonald fails to secure additional $500,000 in funding during celebrity game.


2003:

A visibly nervous, sweating Regis Philbin asks ad-libbed question “What should you do after hitting a pedestrian with your car?”


2006:

Lifeline allowing contestants to sell soul to demon to gain sum total of human knowledge removed from program.


2008:

Dad wants to know if tuna sandwich with fries is your final answer.


2010:

The phone a friend lifeline phased out as new widespread availability of hardcover encyclopedias allows for rampant cheating.


2012:

Show pays out its top prize to date when Kentucky electrician Dwayne O’Malley wins $200.


2019:

Million dollars not actually worth that much anymore.


2028:

ABC due to relaunch show as nostalgic cash grab sometime around here.



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