Who Wants to be a Millionaire is one of the best reality game shows of all time. After its debut in the U.K on September 4, 1998, more than 100 versions of the game have been aired in 160 countries till date. On the 20th anniversary of this game show franchise, we bring you some interesting facts and lesser known things about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
#5. Major Charles Ingram Cheated on the Show
On September 9, 2001, Major Charles Ingram, committed one of the clumsiest but brilliant crimes of the 21st century. Step by step he was successful in stealing 1 million pound in front of the camera with the help of his shadowy accomplices, who were present in the audience. Charles won the competition, but his cheque was later canceled for cheating. This was the first time that anyone had ever cheated on the show.
#4. Nervous Design of Sets
Unlike other game shows where the set is made in a way that contestants won’t get nervous or panicked, Who Wants to be a Millionaire’s set is designed to make the contestants feel uneasy. The seats are designed to match with lightings and programme made to create an atmosphere which feels more like a thriller movie theatre than a game show.
#3. Coolest Winner John Carpenter
The very first win of Who Wants to be a Millionaire is also the coolest one in the reality game show history. John Carpenter, an IRS agent, made it to the last question without using a single lifeline. He used the lifeline “phone a friend” for the last question, but it was not to ask for help, it was actually to tell his dad that he knew the answer and was about to win a million dollars.
#2. Partial Payment System
If you thought that winners get all their prize money at once, then you are mistaken. The contestants who win $500,000 and $1,000,000 get paid $250,000 thirty days after the show broadcasts for general viewers. The rest of the money is paid in annual payments. The winner of $500,000 receives $25,000 a year for ten years, and grand prize winner receives $37,000 annually for 20 years.
#1. Inspired a Movie
Slumdog Millionaire, which was nominated as the best film of the decade, was inspired by the show. The movie was adapted from the novel Q & A, written by Vikas Swarup, who wrote the book based on an Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.