Three live specials will see members of the public return to the show which has in recent times see celebrity specials replace the usual editions.
Last year 65-year-old host Chris Tarrant criticised the broadcaster for dropping the regular format in order to air star specials saying that he missed how the big money quiz could change the lives of ordinary people.
“At the moment there’s no shows for members of the public and I think that’s wrong… I’m constantly arguing with ITV about it. I think the celebrity versions are the icing on the cake. But I think they are missing the cake.” he told Radio 5 live’s Richard Bacon, adding, “I think it is still about giving little old ladies £25,000 that will completely change their life. And I think we’ve kind of lost sight of that. It’s got to be live, it’s got to be celebs, it’s got to be charity and all that. That’s fine and they get big audiences. But I still think they should be doing good old Millionaire with members of the public.”
As well as a return to the traditional format the show is alos for the first time offering viewers at home to play along via a brand new official online game. Answering the same questions as contestants live on air, the speed of the player’s responses will be ranked on a leader board amongst other online competitors.
“People at home always think they could do better than the contestants in the studio so with Millionaire’s added interactivity we’ll see just how good they really are! During my 14 years on the show I’ve seen over 1000 members of the public walk away with big money prizes and I’m looking forward to asking more questions that could change the fortunes of everyday people.” Tarrant says of the audience participation angle.
Other successful formats have been ‘celebritised’ by ITV in recent years with the public dropped from long running game shows such as Mr & Mrs and Family Fortunes.
ITV’s Controller of Entertainment, Layla Smith adds, “Millionaire is a remarkably successful game show and for the next turn of the wheel, we’ll be putting the general public back in the Hotseat for live specials. It’s great to be returning to the roots of the show and hopefully the contestants will win some extra cash in time for the summer holiday!”