Billy Gardell Ready to Roll the Dice as ‘Monopoly Millionaires’ Club’ Host

“Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the lottery ticket game that prospective contestants entered to earn a place on the show was deemed too complicated and was suspended at the end of last year and brought back as an instant-win scratcher ticket game this month — there is one person who is ready to bet big on the project: “Mike and Molly” star Billy Gardell, who serves as host of the show.

“I wanted the biggest game show on television, like Jackie Gleason big,” said Gardell, who said his agents had been on the hunt for an outlet like this for him and found this project, a partnership between Hasbro and Scientific Games. “They built a 50,000-square-foot LED stage in Las Vegas, and it’s going to be the biggest cash game show on television.”

Gardell explained that each of the show’s games is based on a symbol from the classic board game. You can win up to $100,000 in each of those subgames, culminating with the big game when the player who has risked the most gets to try his or her luck going around the giant Monopoly LED game. If you can land on Go within five rolls, you win $1 million.

The audience is divided into sections named after famous Monopoly pieces, and players are chosen from those areas. Audience members are incentivized to cheer their players on, as they can walk away with a piece of the winning pie. Twelve episodes have already been filmed, and the producers plan to go back for more with winners culled from the simpler scratcher-ticket lottery.

“The oddsmakers said we’d never give away a million in 25 games,” said Gardell. “We did it twice in the first 12. I think I gave the insurance guy a heart attack.”

Still, the Monopoly board game is not one known for its speed. Winning takes calculation and planning, and it’s rare for players to actually finish a game. Not this version, says Gardell.

“It’s super fast; there’s a lot of risk-it-all and go-for-it type moments,” he said. “They’ve taken all the images from Monopoly and made these quick-fast games … Ride the Rails is my favorite game. It’s based on the railroads, and it’s a giant board with this train in front of you full of cash cars. You have to hit the stop brake before you get the caboose. If you fill it up with $50 grand, we’ll double it and give you a $100,000.”

Gardell knows that this show will draw comparisons to a similarly named high-stakes game show, but he says he thinks of himself more as Jackie Gleason than former “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” host Regis Philbin. Does this mean he won’t be sporting Philbin’s famous metallic ties?

“No, but I hope there will be some nice suits involved,” he said.

“Monopoly Millionaire’s Club” begins airing March 28. Check listings for channels and times.

More TV

  • TV Ratings: ABC Tuesday Comedy Lineup

    TV Ratings: ABC Tuesday Comedy Lineup Rises

    “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the […]

  • Big Little Lies HBO

    HBO Defends 'Big Little Lies' Golden Globes Entry as a Limited Series

    “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the […]

  • SAG Awards Snubs and Suprises

    SAG Nominations: 16 Biggest Snubs and Surprises

    “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the […]

  • Three Billboards Stranger Things

    SAG Award Nominations Scorecard: Fox Searchlight, Netflix Top List

    “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the […]

  • SAG Nominations 2018: Netflix vs. Amazon

    SAG Nominations 2018: Netflix Scores, Amazon Flops, Broadcast Nets Trail

    “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the […]

  • SAG Award Nominations 2017 Curb Your

    SAG Awards TV Nominations: Netflix Soars, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is Back, 'GLOW' Shines, 'Modern Family' Streak Ends

    “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the […]

  • Kevin Spacey Jeffrey Tambor Shutout of

    Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor Shut Out of SAG Awards in Wake of Sexual Harassment Allegations

    “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content