Instant hits are rare in network television these days, so it’s no surprise that ABC is milking the success of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” for all it’s worth — and then some.
The Alphabet web has started running an on-air promo that uses clips from “Millionaire,” the show’s trademark techno-music and shots of host Regis Philbin asking “Is that your final answer?” to tout the virtues of ABC’s six new fall shows. The spot hypes the “phenomenon” of “Millionaire” and suggests that viewers who loved the quizshow will be just as impressed with ABC’s frosh roster of comedies and dramas.
“It’s different, but we wanted to have a little fun” with the success of “Millionaire,” said ABC promo veep Mike Benson, noting that the game show has become part of the pop culture, with everyone from Howard Stern to David Letterman making references to it.
While none of ABC’s new shows are even remotely similar to “Millionaire,” Benson said the campaign follows the lead of movie studios, which regularly hype pics as the product of producers or directors — even when their pic isn’t even remotely similar to the project.
“We’re trying to build up the expectation for our new shows,” Benson said.
One thing’s certain: The new ads should provide plenty of fodder for Philbin, who’s quipped repeatedly in recent weeks about how he’s single-handedly saved ABC.