CBS has ordered six one-hour episodes of “Million Dollar Password” hosted by Regis Philbin for midseason 2008, it was jointly announced today by Ghen Maynard, CBS Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming & Entertainment Content for New Media, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group and Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America. The new primetime game show will be a modernized version based on the Goodson/Todman classics “Password,” “Password Plus” and “Super Password.”
“‘Password’ is one of the all time classic game shows and we’re thrilled to bring it back to television,” said Ghen Maynard. “And what better person to host it than one of today’s preeminent personalities, the ever enthusiastic and beloved Regis Philbin.”
“We’re very excited to re-introduce one of the greatest game shows in the history of American television to a whole new audience,” says Frot-Coutaz. “With new twists, higher stakes, a one million dollar grand prize and the one and only Regis Philbin at the helm, we’re confident viewers will tune in to re-discover the format that helped to define the game show genre as we know it.”
Taped in New York, the new “Million Dollar Password” will feature two teams comprised of one celebrity and one contestant, each competing to guess a password revealed only to the studio audience and viewers at home. The team with the highest score will then have to decide whether or not to keep their earnings or move on to a tension-building final round, where one word can potentially win a one million dollar grand prize.
“I’m thrilled to be part of this great show that I remember so well from a few years ago,” says Regis Philbin. “It was a very classy production and Allen Ludden was so terrific. I hope I can continue that tradition on ‘Million Dollar Password.'”
As the energetic host of “Live with Regis and Kelly,” now in its 20th season, Regis took his daytime success to nighttime with “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and “Super Millionaire,” and in 2006 returned to primetime, hosting the first season of the hit summer program “America’s Got Talent.”
Over the years, Philbin has received numerous honors for his work in the television industry. In May 2001, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored Philbin with a Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Game Show Host for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” and another Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host for “Live with Regis.” He and co-host Kelly Ripa received the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Special for hosting the 2005 “Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade.” Other honors include the 2001 TV Guide Award for “Personality of the Year,” and a Broadcasting & Cable Lifetime Achievement Award, a Crystal Apple Award from New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for his contributions to the New York television industry, the Walter Camp “Distinguished American Award” from Yale University, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2006, Philbin was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Television Academy’s Hall of Fame. In 2006, he broke his own existing Guinness World Record for Most Hours on Camera, setting a new mark of 15,662 hours accumulated over his illustrious career.
Two of his non-televised projects are true labors of love. In September 2004, Hollywood Records released Philbin’s album of timeless songs, When You’re Smiling, produced by acclaimed producer/singer Steve Tyrell. Based on the album’s success, Hollywood Records signed Philbin for a follow-up album also produced by Tyrell entitled The Regis Philbin Christmas Album which debuted in September 2005, featuring duets with Joy Philbin, Tyrell and a special appearance by Donald Trump. It was one of the season’s top-selling holiday albums.
A native of New York City, Philbin is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received an honorary doctorate of law degree for his contributions to Notre Dame and South Bend. Regis and Joy have two daughters, Joanna and Jennifer.
Hosted by Allen Ludden, the original daytime and primetime versions of “Password” first aired on CBS from 1961 to 1967. Additional versions of Password ran on other networks at various times throughout the years 1971-1989, garnering the first ever Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show in 1974.
“Million Dollar Password” is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America, is executive producer.