Current logo for Season 10.

The U.S. syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire first aired on September 16, 2002, and is hosted by Meredith Vieira. This version is the first to feature the Shuffle format, and will enter its tenth season in September 2011.


Classic format (2002-2008)Edit

In order to win the million, the contestant had to answer fifteen multiple-choice questions. In this format, the difficulty and money amounts are not cumulative. There are two "safe havens" at questions five and ten; correctly answering these questions guarantees the player with the amount of money associated with them. Incorrectly answering a question ends the game, and the player wins the value of the last safe haven reached. An incorrect answer before the sixth question leaves the player with nothing. On any question the player may walk away with the money they have already earned without answering.

Clock format (2008-2010)Edit

In the Clock format of the game, a timer was added to every question. The first five questions had fifteen seconds each, the next five had thirty seconds each, and questions 11-14 had forty-five seconds each. All unused time was banked and used for the million dollar question, with an additional forty-five seconds. The clock started when the answers were first being read, something often criticized, especially for the first five questions. Running out of time forced the contestant to walk away; an answer that was started before time runs out and immediately followed by "final answer" without any prompting from the host qualified as the contestant's answer.

There were two new lifelines introduced for this version which replaced 50:50 and Switch the Question. These two lifelines were Double Dip and Ask the Expert. In addition, a "Millionaire Menu" was added, which showed the categories for all fifteen questions.

Shuffle format (2010-present)Edit

Unlike previous versions of Millionaire the Shuffle format was divided into two rounds and shortened to fourteen questions. There are only two different lifelines in this format; Ask the Audience, and two Jump the Questions, which allow the player to continue without answering a question, but also forfeiting the value attached.

In addition to the format change, the set was drastically changed as well. The Hot Seat was removed and replaced by a desk in the center of the stage; both the player and the host are now standing. There are two large video screens instead of small monitors. The music was changed as well.

Round 1Edit

The first round consists of ten questions. The categories for these are shown and shuffled; the money values are also shuffled, and are not attached to the question difficulty. Thus, easier questions could possibly have higher dollar amounts, and vice versa. The player does not know the dollar amount until a correct answer is given or Jump the Question is used. When an incorrect answer is given, the player leaves with $1,000 regardless of his or her bank, and the money amount for that question is not revealed.

In the Shuffle format, each player has a bank that the value of each correctly-answered question is added into. Unlike other formats, the money for this round is cumulative, meaning that the maximum bank for round one is $68,600. After any question in the first round the player can walk away with half of his or her bank.

Round 2 (Classic Millionaire)Edit

There are four questions in this round worth $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000. These questions are increasing in difficulty. Unlike the previous round, the values are not cumulative, and the player may walk with their full bank. An incorrect answer drops the player to $25,000. There are no categories for these questions.

Audience gameEdit

After a contestant leaves, if there is not enough time to start with a new player before the episode ends, a random audience member is given the chance to win $1,000 by answering the next question in the previous player's stack. For appearing on stage, whether or not a correct answer is given, the audience member receives a copy of the Millionaire Wii game.

Double Your Money daysEdit

Introduced in season 10, certain days at the producer's discretion may be declared "Double Your Money" days. On these days, one randomly selected question's value from round one in each player's game is doubled upon a correct answer. This means that the total possible bank is $93,600, although this is highly unlikely.

Club MillionaireEdit

To be introduced in season 10, the specifics are unknown, but the club apparently involves home viewers answering a daily question. Whoever answers the most questions correctly will be entered in a random drawing. The winner of the drawing will be guaranteed to make an appearance on the show as a contestant.

Money TreeEdit

Question number Question value
2002–2004 2004–2009 2009–2010 2010–present
1 $100 $500 Random value ($100, $500, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $7,000, $10,000, $15,000, $25,000)
2 $200 $1,000
3 $300 $2,000
4 $500 $3,000
5 $1,000 $5,000
6 $2,000 $7,500
7 $4,000 $10,000
8 $8,000 $12,500
9 $16,000 $15,000
10 $32,000 $25,000
11 $64,000 $50,000 $100,000
12 $125,000 $100,000 $250,000
13 $250,000 $500,000
14 $500,000 $1,000,000
15 $1,000,000


Originally there were the three original lifelines from the primetime version and UK version: 50:50, Phone-a-Friend, and Ask the Audience. In 2004, Switch the Question was added, becoming available at the eleventh question. In 2008, with the Clock format, 50:50 and Switch the Question were removed and replaced by Double Dip and Ask the Expert (the latter was only available from the sixth question onward). In January 2010, Phone-a-Friend was removed due to people using the Internet to search answers, and Ask the Expert was made available from the beginning of the game. In 2011, with the Shuffle format, Double Dip and Ask the Expert were removed and replaced by two Jump the Questions.

Lifeline S1 ('02-'03) S2 ('03-'04) S3 ('04-'05) S4 ('05-'06) S5 ('06-'07) S6 ('07-'08) S7 ('08-'09) S8 ('09-'10) S9 ('10-'11) S10 ('11-'12)
Ask the Audience (with AOL poll)
Jump the Question (2)
Double Dip
Ask the Expert
Switch the Question