Millionaire Hot Seat put on ice, Eddie McGuire confirms

Eddie McGuire had some big news to share on Friday.

Eddie McGuire had some big news to share on Friday. Photo: Nine

Australian TV could be facing the end of an era, with long-time game show host Eddie McGuire confirming Millionaire Hot Seat will take a break in 2024.

Instead, Australia’s longest-running quiz show will be put on “hiatus” from the end of January, pressing pause after more than 15 years on air and thousands of episodes.

Millionaire Hot Seat host and former Channel Nine CEO McGuire confirmed the news with “great pride and joy, but also sadness” to Melbourne’s 3AW radio on Friday morning.

He told listeners another show, with details still under-wraps, would take the game show’s place.

“We will finish off this year and there’ll be a replacement show at five o’clock on the Nine Network after we will hit our 25th anniversary [in combination with the show’s predecessor Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?] when we go into 2024,” McGuire said.

“I’ve had the privilege of being in everybody’s lounge room … for a long time every night at 5 o’clock, and I love the fact that so many people come and say, ‘I sat there with my grandparents and we did these things together’.

“It’s been a great privilege.”

While Millionaire Hot Seat has not officially been given the axe, being on hiatus is not guaranteed protection from cancellation; after Network Ten put its morning show The Living Room on hiatus in 2022, show cohost Amanda Keller said the move was “a bit of a death knell”.

But after making his announcement about Millionaire Hot Seat, McGuire talked up the good times rather than any possible fears about its future.

‘Life-saving’ show

McGuire said he loved that Hot Seat was “multicultural”, and that contestants felt free to “come out in their sexuality”.

“What I found is the news would come on afterwards, and you’d see the extremes of life – I’d see really a great snapshot of real Australia,” he said.

“You really find that every person’s got a story, they’ve had to battle through something in their life and… they don’t want a big handout, they just want a little bit of sunshine to come their way.”

He said the show also changed lives, with Hot Seat and its predecessor Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? having given away $94 million over the years.

hot seat millionaire covid

Some Hot Seat contestants have taken away big prizes. Photo: Nine

“I had one guy who came on during the global financial crisis and he’s dressed in a suit, he’s a businessman,” McGuire said.

“He won about $250,000, from memory. We walked out, and I normally go and get changed and come on for another show … this guy had the wobbles up.

“I went, ‘You OK?’ and he said, ‘You know, this was my last chance … I had to sell my house tomorrow if I didn’t win anything here. This is not life changing, it’s life-saving’.”

Nine director of television Michael Healy said Millionaire Hot Seat and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? had been fundamental pillars on the network’s schedule for 24 years.

“For 2024 there will be a change, but for this year we look forward to bringing more triumphant stories to those who love the show and who play along with Eddie,” he said.

Millionaire Hot Seat debuted in 2009 as a spin-off of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which McGuire had also hosted.

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