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Phone a friend, email a friend/podcast; Tony in New York writes:
I listened with great interest to the segment from AMT322 about the use of Google on Phone-A-Friend for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and I realized I may be able to shed a bit of light on how things are done on the show now in the States.
You are correct that they don’t have phone-a-friend anymore, because it’s become far too easy to search the answers on the fly, but the other lifeline games you mentioned (Ask the Expert and the others) were, at best, one-off games in previous seasons.
I was on last season as a lifeline, and this season as a contestant (my episode airs in two weeks, so I’m still sworn to secrecy as to how I did), but the lifelines have been as follows:
Last season, there were four lifelines:
• Jump The Question, which allows you to move to the next question up the ladder without receiving the money associated with it;
• 50/50, which removes two of the four possible answers;
• Ask The Audience;
• and your “Plus-One” Lifeline, who had to be with you in the studio. This Plus-One comes in with the contestant in the morning, at which point everyone’s phones are immediately taken away upon entering the building. There’s no more phoning out, there’s no connection to the outside world during taping, and they mic the lifeline’s chair heavily, to discourage coughing-clues or other shenanigans.
This year, they’ve dropped the Jump The Question, leaving contestants with just 50/50, Ask The Audience, and Plus-One. This sucks. On the upside, though, they’ve stopped scrambling the relative difficulties of the questions, and are now laying the questions out in steadily increasing levels of difficulty.
Hope this helps.
It helps US, Tony, but did it help YOU? Once your episode has aired, please write back with the full inside scoop.