Of the various factors that turned Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? into a smash success in 1999—truly, the greatest expression of America’s raging Regisphilia to date—its egalitarian approach to wish fulfillment had to be one of the biggest parts. Sure, the show promised, you might be a regular, unimportant, non-famous human being from Dumblefuck County, America, but all you needed was a command of basic trivia, multiple choice question-answering skills, and one smart friend with a cell phone in order to join America’s million-having hoi polloi. Like its similarly punctuated game show cousin Jeopardy!—but with a much bigger payday, and no fear of running into some sort of button-mashing ringer to ruin your day—the long-running unscripted series was the closest thing to a meritocracy still operating in the modern landscape: Answer the question, get the money, try not to make an asshole of yourself on national TV.
Millionaire went off the air last year, having handed out a great many prizes and phoned oh so many a friends across the last 20-plus years. Now, just 7 months later, Jimmy Kimmel has announced that he intends to bring the series back—except without that pesky “You, too, could become a millionaire” element to potentially elate people or (more likely) bum them out. Per Vulture, the new incarnation of the series—which is being described right now as a series of potential specials on ABC—would switch to a nice, safe celebrity edition, with famouses playing for charity, accompanied by a guest of their choosing, presumably to stop them from making an asshole of themselves on national TV. (Press copy for the revival suggests it could be “a relative, a beloved teacher, or a famed trivia expert,” the latter of which sounding like a much better choice than Fun Ol’ Uncle Joe.) Kimmel would host the series, taking over for Chris Harrison, who was begat by Terry Crews, who was begat by Cedric The Entertainer, who was begat by Meredith Viera, who received the apostolic Millionaire touch from Regis P. himself.
It’s probably not a coincidence that this news comes the day after ABC posted massive ratings for Jeopardy!’s Greatest Of All Time tournament; obviously, the urge to see Americans—even famous Americans—subjected to the trivia crucible is running rampant in our bloodstreams yet again.