‘Millionaire’ producer surfs for ‘Net presence

Show is a consumer brand, Davies sez at Promax confab

NEW ORLEANS — The morning after the fourth million-dollar winner was revealed on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the show’s exec producer Michael Davies told attendees of the Promax & BDA 2000 convention that five years from now, he expects a hit gameshow like “Millionaire” to exist on the Internet rather than on TV.

Davies was the keynote speaker at the annual Promax confab, which kicked off on Wednesday and continues through Saturday. Promax is the largest broadcast promotion, marketing and design conference in the world.

“I’m often not sure that ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ is a television show, but rather a consumer brand,” Davies said. “I oftentimes am working not on the production of the show, but on the online version and other extensions of the show.”

Online presence

Davies said he is talking to a company that would enable the development of a version of the game to be played by families in their car. He is working with Celador Productions, which originated the format, to create an Internet presence for “Millionaire” that would be relevant to audiences worldwide.

“TV has never been more global than it is now and there has never been a more global TV brand than ‘Millionaire,’ ” Davies said.

While Davies noted that eventually the lifeline that allows a contestant to poll the audience will likely involve the show’s entire audience, potentially via the Internet, consulting the Web itself is not soon to become a lifeline of its own.

At the end of the keynote session, Davies was toasted by “Millionaire” host Regis Philbin by video and presented with the inaugural Broadcasting & Cable Broadcaster of the Year Award.

B&C is owned by Cahners Publishing, which also owns Daily Variety.

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