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Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire

Who Wants to be a Super Millionaire, often shortened to Super Millionaire, was a television game show spin-off to the American version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. This series, as was the original primetime series, was hosted by Regis Philbin.

The first five episodes of Super Millionaire aired on ABC during the week of February 22, 2004. It returned for seven additional episodes in May. Those episodes were seen in reruns on the GSN cable network. The show is not expected to return to the airwaves with new episodes in the near future.

Like the original ABC primetime version of Millionaire, contestants qualify by a toll-free telephone game rather than contestant auditions. Players are presented with five Fastest Finger questions to answer using a telephone keypad. Players who answer all five questions correctly are added into the contestant pool. Ten players are randomly selected from the pool for each show to compete as Fastest Finger players.

Gameplay is similar to the traditional Millionaire - contestants answer a series of multiple choice trivia questions. However, in this version, the dollar values are higher. The prize sequence in this version is: $1,000; $2,000; $3,000; $4,000; $5,000; $10,000; $20,000; $30,000; $50,000; $100,000; $500,000; $1,000,000; $2,500,000; $5,000,000; $10,000,000.

Contestants are given the standard three lifelines (50:50, Ask the Audience, and Phone a Friend) at the beginning of the game. After the $100,000 question, however, the contestant earns two additional lifelines. One is the "Three Wise Men," where a panel of three experts (one of whom is a former Millionaire contestant) deliberate and provide an answer within 30 seconds. The other lifeline, "Double Dip," gives the contestant two chances to answer the question, however, the contestant cannot back away from the question if he or she chooses that lifeline. If neither guess is correct, the player leaves with only $100,000.

Though it never occurred, it was a possibility (and numerous contestants mentioned it, along with Philbin) that a contestant could save their "50:50" lifeline and use it beyond the $100,000 milestone in conjunction with the "Double Dip" lifeline to achieve a "no lose scenario" for any question above $100,000. For example, if a contestant used the 50:50 lifeline, the contestant would have 2 choices left, and then if they still did not know the answer to the question they could resort to the Double Dip lifeline, giving them the opportunity to guess twice, without the possibility of guessing the wrong answer.

On this version of Millionaire, as Philbin always mentioned, the risks are much more extreme. For example, if a contestant were to answer 14 questions correctly (worth $5 million) and then answer the final question (worth $10 million) incorrectly, he or she would drop down to only $100,000: a devastating $4,900,000 loss! (To date, no one on any version of the show has answered the $1 million question incorrectly.)

The Double Dip lifeline will return in the new syndicated season of the normal Millionaire and the 50:50 lifeline will be eliminated.. In addition, the "Switch the Question" lifeline will also be eliminated and be replaced with a new lifeline called "Ask the Expert," a modification of the Three Wise Men lifeline in Super Millionaire.

Super Millionaire produced only one millionaire, Robert "Bob-O" Essig, in February 2004. He answered 12 questions to win $1,000,000, but left the game before reaching the $10,000,000 top prize.

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