ABC’s decision to scale back the number of nights it airs “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” appears to have invigorated discussions about a syndie version of the gamer.
Word is that ABC’s sister company, Buena Vista TV, is aiming to roll out a syndicated “Millionaire” in daytime and/or early access timeslots sometime next year.
Interest in going forward sooner rather than later was sparked when ABC, as part of its upfront presentation, announced two installments a week of “Millionaire” would air on the web starting this fall, down from the current four.
A syndie strip would make more sense with fewer editions of “Millionaire” airing in primetime, since auds would likely be less “Millionaired-out.”
If BVT does start talking seriously with TV stations about launching “Millionaire” in 2002, it will be competing with another primetime gamer headed for syndication: NBC’s “Weakest Link.”
The Peacock’s new syndie division is trying for a January launch of “Link” in broadcast syndication, likely with a host other than primetime’s Anne Robinson.
It’s not clear whether a syndie “Millionaire” would feature primetime host Regis Philbin. In addition to “Millionaire,” Philbin already hosts the daily syndie morning show distribbed by BVTV, “Live! With Regis & Kelly.”