“Is this your last word?” Everyone remembers this line that became a cult by Jean-Pierre Foucault, inseparable from the game Who wants to be a millionaire? It was first released in the United Kingdom in 1998 as Who wants to be a millionaire? This general culture quiz has quickly established itself as one of the most popular, available in more than 140 versions worldwide.
Debuted in France on July 3, 2000, at 7:10 pm, on TF1, it sparked a tidal wave and audiences peaking at over 7 million viewers. A real phenomenon for this schedule! From housewife to CEO, teenager to retiree, France takes pride in this game with its carefully orchestrated dramatic performances that trace their parentage to Britons Paul Smith and David Briggs, already authors of May the best win. “The dramatic issue is money,” he insisted on the former before the French launch of Leisure.
The temptation to hit the jackpot is in fact the main driver of the success of the game, and here, the maximum payout, 3 million francs (then 4 million francs and 1 million euros), has no measure in common with what is on TV. What to give an old snapshot to static numbers and letters or to Bigdellthat Who wants to be a millionaire? It replaces it for three weeks in July when it was launched on TF1.
Who wants to be a millionaire? It is a global game. Whether you are in Paris, London, New York or Tokyo, you see the same thing.
No doubt touch the winning formula! The British production company, Celador, has compiled intangible specifications, which producers and buyers must respect (Starling in France). All scenography – lighting, music and decor – is identical in all versions.
Here, there’s no stopwatch, but there’s a soundtrack (between a drum roll and a heartbeat) that dramatizes the atmosphere and brings tension, shades of dark blue and black where TVs are usually full of glowing colours.
As for the presenter, he must be informed, dress soberly, and exude confidence. This is why, on ABC, American host Regis Philbin was forced to get dressed and take off his dollar-print jacket!
In France, it was Jean-Pierre Foucault who was exquisitely dressed as master of ceremonies with his famous “Is that your last word?” entered the annals of entertainment. To complete the air of unbearable suspense, the close-ups of the anxious friend of the candidate pinned to the stands – the presence of an accompanying person is commanding Mandatory for the participant – she is a legion.
Falling so illico bank
The principle of the game: the candidate must answer 15 questions (12 between 2009 and 2016) whose rewards range from 100 to 1 million euros, with levels guaranteeing winnings at 1,000 euros (or 1,500 depending on the age of the game) and 24,000 euros (or 48,000), Which means if the player fails, he still wins the guaranteed amount. If he does not know the answer, the participant can also choose to give up, and then win the winnings earned in the previous question. Finally, it has three jokes: “50/50” which eliminates two of the four suggested answers; the “public vote” that a candidate may or may not follow; and “Dial a Friend” which allows him to pop the question to an acquaintance.
under high voltage
During the match the difficulty increases and causes the candidate to throb intensely. In fact, at first, the general knowledge quests seem rather simple, even childish, to flatter and instill confidence in the player before lengthening the duration and difficulty between each new gain. The show serves as identification: everyone can see themselves answering, especially since all you have to do is call in for a chance to find yourself in the studio and try to win the jackpot.
with Who wants to be a millionaire?, TF1 breaks the bricks and the house. The channel regularly stops broadcasting the game after three-week sessions in order to create shortages. On the strength of this success, just a year after its debut, the show has many variations: special couples, special alumni, or even special celebrities (in which two characters form a bond with the goal of making as much money as possible for it. Other ).
Broadcast on TF1 between 2000 and 2016, the game returned to the air in May 2019, without the legendary Jean-Pierre Foucault, but with the rising star of the channel, Camille Combal, at 6:15pm, before the opera. Tomorrow is ours. In 2020, during the Covid health crisis, the channel decided to produce the show at the host’s home for the first few weeks, then on set with celebrities responding from their homes. But the magic slowly faded…
Few prizes in the pocket
In France, only 3 candidates have reached the highest level of the pyramid. In 2000, two men pocketed 4 million francs for one month. Four years later, one woman won one million euros, that was on August 27, 2004. A great revenge, under the passionate gaze of her daughters, for Gerçoise who, two years earlier, had lost in the Questions for Nations tournament, in France 3.
Behind the scenes… oil on the game
The “losers” priced at 1,500 euros were sometimes abused by their relatives. “Insults come from time to time. We have already heard an attendant reprimand a candidate for falling into such a question by calling him an idiot,” said Jean-Pierre Foucault. The production team appease the spirits by reminding the protagonists of the importance of the amount raised, even the most modest one.
Appeal to 1 million
The award for relaxation and humor goes to an American nominee who used his first joker at the end of the game, and the suspense was at its peak. He was so calm, he called out to his dad: “I really don’t need your help. I just wanted to tell you I’m going to win a million dollars,” he announces to her!
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