SACRAMENTO (AP) - After nearly 24 years and millions in prizes,
the California Lottery is replacing its "Big Spin" television
game show with what it hopes will be a more attractive, four-part
successor, "Make Me a Millionaire."
The weekly half-hour show will air for the first time Saturday
on 10 stations in the same 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. time bracket as "The
"Over the years, in the realm of game shows, we've seen a lot
of newer, more exciting shows come along," said Alex Traverso, a
lottery spokesman. "This is really our chance to show we can be
one of those exciting shows that people win on and have a good time
on and people are going to want to tune in and see."
"The Big Spin," which featured contestants spinning a large
wheel to try for prizes of up to $3 million, had become "a little
dated," he said. The first show was in 1985, 10 months after
voters authorized the lottery.
"Make Me a Millionaire" will feature 12 contestants who will
be chosen by lot to participate in four games: Lucky Penny, Safe
Cracker, California Cool and Make Me a Millionaire. The
participants are guaranteed at least $2,100.
Lucky Penny will have three contestants who will compete for new
cars. In Safe Cracker, two players will vie for up to $88,000 by
guessing which in a series of safes contain prize money. California
Cool will have a single contestant who will try to win up to
$200,000 by finding true statements about the state on a game
One contestant will be picked by lot from the remaining six
participants to play the fourth game, Make Me a Millionaire. It
will feature a progressive $1 million jackpot that will grow by
$200,000 each time someone doesn't win it.
The contestant will try to win the jackpot by guessing whether a
series of numbers between one and 50 will be higher or lower than a
base number that changes with each round of the game. A correct
guess will be worth $10,000.
After one incorrect guess, the player will have the option of
taking anything he or she has won to that point or playing on. A
contestant who makes two incorrect guesses gets only the minimum
prize of $10,000.
Lottery players can qualify for the show by playing "The Big
Spin" or "Make Me a Millionaire" scratcher games. A scratcher
ticket with the words "TV Show" on it three times puts the player
on the show.
Contestants can also get on the show through second-chance
drawings for lottery players who send in coupons obtained by buying
$5 Fantasy 5 tickets or who play one of three special holiday
scratcher games and enter losing tickets online by Jan. 23.
The lottery also may be in for other changes.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is counting on voters approving
borrowing $10 billion against anticipated lottery revenues to help
ease the state's persistent budget deficits. In September,
lawmakers agreed to go along with the governor's plan, which would
allow the lottery to hand out bigger jackpots in hopes of
increasing ticket sales and authorize the sale of state bonds based
on the games' projected future revenues.
The proposal is currently scheduled to go before voters in June,
but Schwarzenegger has the authority to move up the date of the
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)