News | RTL Group | Cologne, 06/02/2021

RTL Celebrates 1,500 Episodes Of ‘Wer wird Millionär?’

“Wer wird Millionär?”, the most successful quiz show on German television, was launched in September of 1999 on RTL. This Thursday, RTL will broadcast episode 1,500 of the show. In an interview, host Günther Jauch talks about the secret of success of “Wer wird Millionär?” and his experiences gained from more than 21 years of the show.

Happy Birthday and “Let’s Play”: Germany’s most successful quiz show “Wer wird Millionär?” (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) will celebrate its 1,500th episode with a special anniversary show. “Das Jubiläum zur 1.500. Sendung” on RTL, above all, will have several surprises for host Günther Jauch. He has no idea what will happen.  He does not know who the contestants battling for the highest winnings in a special version of the game will be, and the testimonials that will remind him and viewers of special “WWM” stories will be a complete surprise. In an interview, Günther Jauch talks about the enduring success of the show, which premiered on September 3, 1999.

Germany’s most successful quiz show will celebrate “Das Jubiläum zur 1.500. Sendung” on Thursday with a big “WWM” surprise show for you. Are you looking forward to being surprised, or does the idea make you uncomfortable?   

You’ve got it. I really prefer maintaining control in the show. This one, however, is based on the principle “He doesn’t know what will happen”. And I also have no idea what contestants or guests will be there. It’s going to be exciting. 

What precisely is the reason for the success of “WWM”? 

The concept is simple and easy to understand. You can tune in or out at any time during the show. Everyone can test their own knowledge and gets a sense of the value of the correct answer. To be precise: if you can answer the €500,000 question at home, you will go to bed with a different feeling than if you fail at €500.

How important are innovative changes to the show for its success? 

That’s a good question. Of course, you should always be open to innovation. At the same time, however, there are shows that do not like having the core of the brand damaged. I am sure that “WWM” is one of those shows. In other words: in the case of automobiles, there’s a big difference between incremental changes to an existing model and the design and production of an entirely new model. In this sense, “WWM” can do with cosmetic work and, for example, the idea of additional new jokers. Otherwise, I would warn against constant, chaotic tinkering.

How do good questions influence the success?   

They are crucial. And that is the reason I have been absolutely thrilled with our question editors – mind the company – especially considering the passion they bring to developing new and original ideas in the range up to €500. That’s truly sensational. A good question simply has to inspire one to answer it or at least think hard about what the correct answer might be.

What are today’s types of players after 1,500 episodes? 

You still have the safety fanatics. They want to leave the show with €16,000 because mom needs a new kitchen. They subordinate everything to this goal, especially the choice of joker. The gamblers, however, reach for the stars, usually with the awareness that they might fall after getting half-way there. These two types of players haven’t really changed over the years.

What “WWM” stories have stuck in your memory? 

All that were connected with big emotions. With tears of joy and deep despair because everything went wrong. 

Is money always an aspect?    

Some don’t primarily care about the money. The contestants simply want to prove to themselves and the world that they have mastered this challenge – including my occasional malevolence. 

Do you still enjoy hosting “WWM”? 

Yes, a lot. Otherwise, we would not have made it to 1,500 shows in 21 years …