Jeremy Clarkson is swapping the high-octane world of fast cars for the high-pressure world of primetime quiz shows. The former “Top Gear” presenter is set to host “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” when the show returns to British screens this spring for a week-long run of special episodes on ITV.
The classic format has contestants answer up to 15 questions as they attempt to win £1 million ($1.4 million). The producers said there would be “new twists and turns” in the 20th anniversary specials, which will be aired over a week.
“I have always loved the show and am thrilled to be involved with its rebirth,” said Clarkson, who was fired from the BBC’s “Top Gear” after a confrontation with a member of the production team. He now fronts Amazon’s motoring series, “The Grand Tour,” the streamer’s most popular original.
Clarkson added: “I’m a big fan of quiz shows, and I’m looking forward to hosting this iconic TV show and hopefully making a few millionaires.”
The show was originally made by U.K. indie Celador and then acquired by twowaytraffic, which was then bought by Sony Pictures Television. The new “Millionaire” will be produced by Sony’s Stellify and filmed in Manchester.
“It felt like a no-brainer to celebrate a show that was a trailblazer of its time and broke the mold,” said Siobhan Greene, head of entertainment at ITV. “In doing this one-off special week, I hope ‘Millionaire’ will be introduced to a whole new generation. And with TV legend Jeremy Clarkson asking the questions, frankly anything could happen.”
The producers have opened applications for contestants. “‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ is one of the greatest game shows ever made,” said Kieran Doherty, joint managing director of Stellify. “We are absolute super-fans of the format, and it’s an honor to be bringing it back on its 20th anniversary.”
Sony Pictures Television owns the format and distributes it globally. It was a huge hit in India and other markets. SPT is hoping that the new U.K. version will help reinvigorate the show internationally.