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ABC may give away millions of dollars

Who wants to be a millionaire? Who doesn't?

And ABC is hoping that the public's desire for wealth will turn the Americanization of the hit British series "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" into a hit. The network is planning to air 13 episodes in 14 nights beginning on Monday, Aug. 16.Regis Philbin will host the quiz show, which will feature 10 contestants from around the country competing each night for escalating prizes that "could ultimately total $1 million."

Each episode will be taped in New York the day before it airs -- the show will be seen Monday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (half-hour editions) and Sundays at 7 p.m. (one-hour editions).

(It will not be seen Monday, Aug. 23.)

The contest itself involves 15 multiple-choice questions on various topics. Starting at $100, contestants basically go double or nothing with each question, up to $1 million. (Shades of "The $64,000 Question.") But they get to see the questions before they decide whether they want to walk away with their winnings.

They also get a one-time opportunity to cut their four multiple choices to two and a chance to "Ask the Audience." And they're allowed one "Phone a Friend," which is exactly what it sounds like.

It's hardly a new idea, although it does seem to be taking the quiz-show format to a new level. And it's airing in mid-August, a time when there isn't exactly a plethora of original, scintillating programming on the broadcast networks.

REVIVAL: Again, there isn't a lot of original programming on the networks this summer, and NBC's only new series isn't exactly original. "You Asked For It" premieres Sunday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m.

It's a revival of the series that ran from 1950-59 on the old Dumont Network and ABC -- later revived in syndication in the '70s -- in which viewers sent their questions, sparking segments on the answers.