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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Lackluster ratings for new prime time 'Millionaire' may show why it was canceled in the first place

10

August

Looks like audiences may be giving their own final answer to ABC's revival of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, delivering ratings for Sunday's debut that were fourth in the timeslot.

Bradbbey-hotseat Back after a five-year hiatus with original host Regis Philbin -- and featuring, as its first competitor, Tampa resident Brad Abbey -- the new Millionaire attracted just 6.9 million viewers, behind CBS's dysfunctional  housemates contest Big Brother 11 with 7.2 million viewers, according to TVBytheNumbers.com.

But NBC actually won the night with its Sunday Night Football exhibition game featuring the Buffalo Bills against the Tennessee Titans.

Meredith_millionaire_promo Sunday seems to have been a bad night for Tampa-connected reality TV stars all around; Millionaire's companion show, Shark Tank, also tanked in the ratings with 4.2 million viewers at 9 p.m.

Clearwater infomercial guru Kevin Harrington serves as one of the panelists who decide which aspiring entrepreneurs to give funding on the show.

So were viewers unimpressed by Millionaire because a daytime version of the show hosted by Today show anchor Meredith Vieira still airs in many markets, including Tampa?

Or is this current ratings stumble just a rerun of the days before Millionaire was taken off the air, when ABC ran the show so often to plug scheduling holes, it killed viewers' interest?

And ABC's reality nightmare may not be over; Millionaire has 10 more episodes to air over the next two weeks.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:00pm]

    

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