Actors Eric Stonestreet and Will Forte will be the contestants when a series of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” episodes with celebrities playing for charities of their choice begins April 8 on ABC.
The episode will begin at 10:01 p.m., following the 61-minute series finale of “Modern Family,” whose cast includes Stonestreet.
Stonestreet will be playing for Building Hope for Autism, an Overland Park, Kansas-based organization which seeks to fill gaps in services and support autism organizations that already exist. Its executive director is Stonestreet’s sister Mauria Stonestreet.
Forte will be playing for The Pangea Network, which bills itself as an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering motivated individuals in Kenya and the United States with the knowledge, skills and an ongoing network of support in order to achieve their dreams and make positive, life-changing contributions in the communities where they live.
The episodes will be hosted by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and are being billed by ABC as “the 20th anniversary prime-time celebration” of the game show that became a ratings phenomenon with its Aug. 16, 1999, premiere and the first U.S. network series to offer a $1 million top prize.
Kimmel is also one of the executive producers, along with Michael Davies, the original executive producer.
The episodes include several new wrinkles. Celebrities can invite a guest to help them answer questions. There will be a new lifeline, Ask the Host. A live, play-along app will allow viewers to compete to win the same amount of money the celebrities are playing for on the show.
“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” is part of ABC’s strategy to air at least one live or major event every month.
Recent past major events on ABC generally have had great ratings success because of their broad appeal “to kids and families and parents and young adults,” ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in January during the network’s portion of the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.
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