OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Reader wants to know what happened to Meredith on 'Millionaire'

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-12-31T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Reader wants to know what happened to Meredith on 'Millionaire'By Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Reader John Karr of Calumet City gets the distinction of being the final reader question for this column in 2013.

"Please tell me what happened to host Meredith Vieira from the game show 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire' since I don't see her on it anymore? She was always my favorite," Karr queried.

Syndicated game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" began its 12th season in September with new host, comedian Cedric the Entertainer, 49, now asking all the questions.

Emmy Award-winner Vieira, who has 14 Emmys on her mantel, announced last May that she was retiring from her hosting duties after her 11-year run with the series.

"It was the final year of Meredith's contract and she chose to move on and pursue other opportunities," said the press statement released from Disney/ABC Television Group, which produces the show.

Vieira, a co-host of the "Today" show from 2006 to 2011, was previously a host alongside Barbara Walters on ABC's daytime show "The View."

The show offers contestants the chance to win $1 million by answering 14 general knowledge trivia questions. Vieira has hosted the daytime version of "Millionaire" since the show debuted in 2002 following the prime time version hosted by Regis Philbin that launched in 1999.

Throughout her 11 seasons on the game show, Vieira hosted nearly 2,000 episodes and handed out more than $70 million in winnings to "Millionaire" contestants. "Millionaire" is produced by Valleycrest Productions Ltd. and distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. In addition to serving as the host of the show, Vieira served as co-executive producer.

But for readers/viewers like Karr who miss their TV time with Vieira, who just turned 60 on Monday, she is also still under contract with NBC News for another year and the network has announced she will be hosting her own talk show in 2014. NBC Universal plans to syndicate the show to local stations starting in September 2014. According to the NBC press details, the show will be taped in New York City "on a set that resembles Vieira's home, with her actual furniture and family photos," and will combine "a typical mix of celebrities and human-interest segments with everyday people."

"As a journalist on 'Today' and '60 Minutes,' I learned how to really listen to people and help give them a voice," Vieira said in a statement with the announcement.

"On 'The View,' I unleashed my own opinionated self and discovered the empowerment that comes with sometimes heated, but always respectful, discussion. And on 'Millionaire,' I relished the joy of changing people's lives while having pure fun. All of these experiences, along with being a wife and mom, have led me here because they all share one common denominator ... this fundamental need we have to connect with and find inspiration in each other."

Thank you for your question John and a Happy and Safe New Year's Eve to Times Readers!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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