'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Canceled After 17 Years in Syndication

Chris Harrison Who Wants to be a Millionaire - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of ABC

It's the end of a game-show era: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has been canceled.

The long-running effort, which was a phenomenon in its initial network run on ABC and has aired in syndication since 2002, will end after its current season, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

"After a successful 17-year run, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire will not return in national syndication for the 2019-20 season," a rep for the show said. The series is produced by Valleycrest Productions and distributed by Disney ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, an adaptation of a British game show, premiered on ABC in August 1999 with Regis Philbin as host. It quickly became a breakout hit, drawing as many as 30 million viewers in its first season and expanding to as many as four nights a week.

The show also covered a number of holes in ABC's schedule at the time, which were exposed when it subsequently faded. Philbin has returned to host a handful of primetime specials since the end of its regular network run in 2002.

The show went into syndication in September 2002 with slightly different gameplay and Meredith Vieira as host. She departed in 2013, with Cedric the Entertainer and Terry Crews following for a season each. The Bachelor's Chris Harrison has hosted the show since 2015.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is averaging about 2.24 million viewers this season, in the middle of the pack for syndicated shows as a whole but well behind top game shows Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud — all of which draw at least 9.5 million daily viewers.

The show's cancellation could leave a hole in local stations' schedules for next season. The fall is set to feature a number of high-profile syndicated launches — including the Vieira-hosted game show 25 Words or Less — but distribution arrangements for those shows are largely set.

Variety first reported the news.