2009 comebacks: Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and other TV legends


You may already hear it swirling around in your head, that distinct, unforgettable sound of Regis Philbin saying, "Is that your final answer?" This is not your subconscious stuck in the year 2000. There is serious talk that ABC will bring back Who Wants to be Millionairenext fall with Reege as the host.

Why would ABC do such a thing? Costs, for one thing. The game show is still in syndication, so the sets are already built and there's still an infrastructure for creating the questions and the scripts. The network could easily ramp up production and put its one-time megahit back on the air. This time, ABC probably will refrain from running the series into the ground with too many airings, like it did the last time, and will instead stick to using the show as a stunt event with a limited run, like American Idol.

One TV critic speculates that the show could do great in a weak economy, with people interested in the quick money pantings of the contestants and their heartbreaking decisions over whether or not to take the cash in hand or go for the big prize. But the move could also backfire, just like some of the heart-wrenching stories on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" went from tales of resurrection to tales of foreclosure woes. When people are in real need, do we want to sit there and watch contestants as they gamble away a chance to set their lives right?