The international gameshow hit Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is to have its format changed for the first time since its launch in 1998, writes Leigh Holmwood.
Indie Celador is to add a viewer-participation element which could offer a prize of up to£1,000. The "walkaway" will give viewers at home the opportunity to win the cash by answering a question a contestant in the studio decides not to play.Host Chris Tarrant will ask viewers to answer by text message but, as the show does not go out live, winners will be informed later on whether or not they have won.The new element, which is set to be introduced to the ITV1 version early next year, is intended to help refresh Millionaire - which has been licensed to 106 territories worldwide - after its audience started to slip.A text message entry system has also been introduced, boosting the number of applicants by 70%. The move has already paid dividends with the 1 November edition pulling in its highest ratings this year with 7.6 million viewers (32% share).Celador International director of interactive media Bruce Vandenberg said: "Millionaire has been on air for five years and people are very familiar with the brand, so the challenge is to keep it fresh and find new innovative ways for people to consume it."