Chris Tarrant’s onetime hit gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is to be axed by ITV1 after 13 years due to poor viewing figures.
ITV chiefs are pulling the plug on the regular version of the show because of a ratings slump, despite the success of the live spectacular on Christmas Eve which was watched by 6.5 million people – the show’s biggest audience since 2006.
They will now only screen celebrity specials in a bid to create ‘event’ TV.
According to The Mirror, an ITV source revealed: “We are looking to do fewer shows but make them higher profile. The appetite at the moment is for big specials while the audience has drifted away from the run-of-the-mill instalments featuring ordinary punters.
“It’s still a popular brand but we need to make sure it remains fresh and relevant. There’s a realisation that having Millionaire on every week for eight weeks perhaps isn’t the way forward any more.”
The move signals the end of an era for the TV phenomenon which, despite numerous changes to the format over the years, has failed to entice new viewers and annoyed some long-term fans.
The source added: “The changes that were made last year haven’t necessarily worked.”
Emphasis will now be placed on the celebrity specials, which Gabby Logan and singer Katherine Jenkins have previously appeared on.
An ITV spokesman said: “The first ever live edition over Christmas attracted 6.9 million viewers. We are talking to producers, Sony Pictures, about future episodes.”