‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ may cost Disney in lawsuit

To use a phrase from "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" the game show handed ABC a life-line.

Now the network could be on the hook.

The Walt Disney Co.-owned network had been trailing in the ratings in the summer of 1999 when "Millionaire" premiered, offering a $1-million prize for the contestant who could answer increasingly challenging questions. "Millionaire" was an overnight sensation — and would become ABC's first top-rated prime-time show in more than a decade. Former Disney Chief Executive Michael D. Eisner proclaimed it "the most important thing to happen to ABC since I don't know when."

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