Date: 21st November 2000

Phone Calls Cover Primary Millionaire Costs In U.K.

Millionaire hopefuls in Britain, who have to pay a small fee in order to answer preliminary questions by telephone in order to qualify to become contestants on the show, have swollen the prize fund to $11 million, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported today (Tuesday). The newspaper said that the fund is used not only to pay off winners but also for publicity and the costs of selecting contestants. Meanwhile, the London Independent reported that some BBC execs are privately accusing the producers of the show of "dumbing down" questions on nights when Millionaire faces tough competition from the Beeb. An ITV spokeswoman responded, "Why can't the BBC just accept that Millionaire is hugely popular without these unpleasant and unfounded attacks?"

Source: Studio Briefing