EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: I’ve learned that Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Terry Crews is in line to succeed Cedric the Entertainer as host of the syndicated game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. I hear Crews last week reached an agreement for the show, though the deal has not been finalized. Cedric was told of that this past weekend, following his 50th birthday on April 24. The veteran comedian announced today that he would be leaving the show after one season, citing his busy schedule as well as the production’s move to Connecticut, done as a budget-cutting measure. Cost trimming may also have played a role in the show’s host change. Crews is a busy man too, juggling his Fox series, which has been renewed for a second season, and movies including The Expendables franchise.
Cedric The Entertainer is leaving Disney-ABC‘s syndicated game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after a season as a host. There is no replacement yet though I’ve learned that Terry Crews is in line for the gig. Cedric cited his busy schedule and the show’s move to Connecticut for the decision. “With the many television and film projects that I have going on which shoot and promote in various parts of the country, a production-base in Connecticut would make it quite difficult to maneuver the many moving parts on my plate,” he said in a statement. “So, after much thought and some serious conversations with senior executives at the studio, I decided to let Disney-ABC know that, unfortunately, I’m not able to continue on as host. It has truly been a fantastic ride hosting Millionaire this year — a really great time! Thanks so much to all the fans, contestants, crew, and everyone involved for making it such a fun and gratifying experience. As I always say on the show in parting, ‘Watch your wallet’!” Cedric succeeded original Millionaire syndie host Meredith Vieira, who left last year after 11 seasons. Cedric took over the show last fall, and ratings have been stable with him at the helm.
Disney-ABC made the announcement this morning. Stand-up comedian and actor Cedric The Entertainer has been named the new host of the syndicated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire beginning with its 12th season this fall. He succeeds Meredith Vieira, who is departing at the end of this season. “With his deep roots as a successful stand-up comedian and actor, Cedric will bring his fresh approach and unpredictable fun to the show,” said Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic TV.
CAA-repped Cedric is the second member of The Original Kings Of Comedy stand-up troupe to be recruited to host a syndicated game show, joining Steve Harvey, who has been on Family Feud since 2010.
Unless they want to take it to the Supreme Court, it looks like Disney has run out of legal lifelines and will have to pay up in the $319 million Who Wants To Be A Millionaire case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday unanimously rejected a petition by the company for a new trial against Millionaire creator Celador International, which in 2010 was awarded damages by a jury who agreed with the UK company that Disney breached the contract between Celador and it own TV divisions. “The panel votes to deny the petition for rehearing en banc…The full court has been advised of the petition for rehearing en banc and no judge has requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc,” said the brief order (read it here) issued this week.
The unanimous vote and the fact no other judge on the court was interested in a vote on the case does not bode well for Disney overturning the multimillion-dollar July 2010 verdict against it further up the legal food chain.
Meredith Vieira is departing the syndicated version of quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Vieira has been the host of the syndicated Millionaire since its launch in 2002. This is the final year of Vieira’s current contract and, after 11 years, she’s decided to move on and do other things. Search is underway for a new host.
ABC originally offered Vieira the Millionaire gig to sweeten one of her renegotiations for the network’s The View, which Vieira co-hosted for 9 years. Even after Vieira left The View for NBC’s The Today Show in 2006, she continued to host Disney-ABC’s Millionaire, which earned her two Daytime Emmy Awards in 2005 and 2009.
Vieira has already wrapped the current season of Millionaire, which tapes in advance. The show will continue to air Vieira-hosted originals through May and repeats through the summer after which it will introduce a new host. Vieira started off as a celebrity contestant on the primetime version of Millionaire on ABC hosted by Regis Philbin before taking his chair on the syndicated series.