German ‘Millionaire’ fears leak, reshoots

Forgotten question print-out brings swift action

Just the possibility of cheating — like something out of “Slumdog Millionaire” — is worrying the minds of the wildly popular German version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

Producers scrapped and re-taped a May 22 episode of “Wer wird millionaer?” after it turned out that a print-out of the closely guarded questions used for the show had been left in a conference room at RTL for several days before the show was recording, RTL admitted last week.

The notes for the top-secret meeting are usually put in a single computer file while all copies of the questions discussed in the conference are usually destroyed. But for some unexplained reason, the notes with the questions were not disposed of properly this time.

“Even the theoretical chance that some of the questions could have leaked out was enough in my mind to repeat the show,” RTL entertainment topper Tom Saenger says. “We took this step to be completely sure that there wouldn’t be a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that the show wasn’t done properly.”

Host Guenther Jauch says he thought that it was “great that RTL acted so swiftly and rigorously.” The contestants — all celebrities — were told they would be able to keep their first round winnings if they failed to win as much in the second taping; some ended up winning more the second time around and all won at least the same amount, RTL said.