Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is paying tribute to the late Regis Philbin, who launched the show in 1999. The new season premieres Oct. 18.
There's a very good chance that when you hear the sentence, "Let's play Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," you still hear the voice of Regis Philbin.
The TV legend hosted the game show for its original network run from 1999 to 2002 and was succeeded by multiple hosts—Meredith Vieira, Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews, Chris Harrison and now Jimmy Kimmel—but it was Philbin who launched the series and who hosted it during its highest popularity. When it premiered, it was bringing in 30 million viewers three times a week—a number that even major award shows could only dream of bringing in now.
Philbin passed away in July, and this week's season premiere of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire pays tribute to the beloved host. E! News has a sneak peek at the segment above.
The clip features footage of Philbin both on the original set and when he visited Kimmel on the set of the new version of Millionaire.
"Probably the most significant thing that happened when I hosted the first season is Regis came to the set the first day," Kimmel says. "It was great to see him and it was exciting to just have him there because I'm hosting the show, but this is his show."
At one point, Philbin is shown signing the giant million dollar check for the first ever winner, John Carpenter.
"Ultimately," Kimmel continues, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire—it's like he left me a beautiful car."
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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire returns to ABC on Sunday, Oct. 18 with a brand new season. Celebrities will be competing for charity while frontline workers also get a chance at the one million dollar prize. Tiffany Haddish and firefighter Oliver Fry will be taking the hot seat in the premiere.
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