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Thursday, September 21, 2000

Pamela Wallin chat transcript

Talk show host Pamela Wallin, and host of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Canadian Edition)', took time out to talk with JAM! TV about 'Millionaire' and anything else that was asked:

Jennifer McSwain: When is the next version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire Canada going to be and where do we get the phone number to call in for it?

Pamela Wallin: We're not sure when and where and the details at this point. CTV HAS BEGUN negotiations with Disney, who own and control the franchise. Both CTV and I want this to happen, and we're hoping the negotiations are successful.

Pat W: What would you consider doing a canadian millonaire show with the use of canadian celebrities, like the us version did, for instance anne murray, wayne gretsky, lloyd robertson, now there's a good one....

Pamela Wallin: It's certainly one of the things we've talked about. I do think viewers would be interested, but it's all part of these negotiations that are underway at this point.

Jim: Hi, Pamela. Now that the first "Canadian Millionaire" shows are over, what did you think of your performance? What will you do differently when the show returns?

Pamela Wallin: Jim, I let the viewers deal with that issue and more than 4 million watched the show, so I guess it was successful from that point of view. It's my job to give people a comfort zone, to allow them to participate in the game or answer a question, to the best of their ability. That's how I see my job, and I hope I gave people that comfort zone. That's what I intended to do.

Mike Deos (Toronto):: hey there. why did they only shoot 2 shows -- why not a week of shows?

Pamela Wallin: These are all questions that could be better answered by CTV. It is a program that is franchised, and in most other countries the show runs as a weekly program, except the U.S. Canada is in the unique position of being just north of the 49th and having access to the American program. I believe they thought the best way to give Canadians the chance to participate, and that's what they were able to negotiate with Disney.

BIG_CLEM: How were the contestants at the taping? Nervous? Do you think the questions were easy? I did...

Pamela Wallin: The contestants were both excited and a little nervous. I think they each felt the responsibility of their hometown or home province, and to a certain extent on behalf of the country to do a good job. So that's a lot of pressure in what is already a tense situation. As for the questions, I thought they were pretty hard after you get past the $1,000 level.


Pamela Wallin: Yes, I had a chance to meet Regis. He was there. I went down a month before the program and met with him. I asked for advice and doing the program. He said, I don't know, I can't think of any advice really, just have a good time, just have fun. And I certainly did.

Stan O'Neill: Hey Pamela! Why did you decide to host the show? Did CTV approach you or did you actively set out to host it?

Pamela Wallin: CTV approached me to do the show. And I was thrilled to do it. It's something completely different from my regular work. And who wouldn't want to be part of a program that's making television history.

ERNIE RATELLI: PAMELA: Why didn't anyone win $1 M?

Pamela Wallin: Unfortunately, Ernie, I can't answer that. I asked the questions, I don't get to answer them. I wasn't surprised. When we spoke to the Americans about this, their program was on for months before they gave away their first million, and it was five or six shows before they gave away a substantial sum of money at all, so I think we did really well in our first two shows.

Val: Pamela were you directed to tease the contestants or was that your idea? Do you feel it was successful?

Pamela Wallin: Each of the hosts in each country has a different approach. The British host uses more dramatic technique, and I had looked at those tapes and spoke with the executive producer in New York, and he wanted to do something a little different than what the American show does, so it was a joint decision. I did think it added a little bit of dramatic tension.

Anonymous: Would you consider yourself to Canada's Barbara Walters?

Pamela Wallin: I guess it's on one level it's flattering to be referred to as CAnada's Barbara Walters, but I wish by the year 2000 we could define ourselves by our own country. We have our own journalists, stars, musicians, and I thinnk they stand alone. I don't think they have to be compared to an American.

Joan: What was your first TV interview? How long have you been in this business for?

Pamela Wallin: I've been in the business of journalism 25 or 26 years and worked in radion, [papers, tv, and of course online. My very first interview, I can't even recall, but my first job in broadcasting was on Radio Noon on CBC Saskatchewan, and we did a special program on anesthesists and whether their behaviour was risking the lives of patients. That would've been in 1973, 1974, I'm not exactly sure.

Kathleen Rogers: What is your most memorable interview?

Pamela Wallin: My most memorable is always the one I did yesterday, and the one I do today becomes the most memorable. I'm genuinely curious about people and whey they do what they do, and it's hard to select one. There are some obvious examples: Pierre Trudeau was always a challenge. He taught me a lot about how to conduct an interview. Then there are just great stories of overcoming hardship told by ordinary people that are touching and help us learn some of life's lessons.

ADRIAN: Do you watch 'Survivor' or 'Big Brother'? If so, which one do you like more? Why?

Pamela Wallin: I don't watch either, and it really troubles me. My definition of reality tv is turning on the news, finding out about what goes on in your country and your world, and I think that for me that's where our time and attention should go. That's not to say entertainment isn't worthwhile. I don't think either Survivor or Big Brother make much of a positive contribution to a civil society. Cdn. Millionaire? I think it's entertainment. The one thing I really like is it actually brought families together in front of the tv set. You haven't seen that for a very long time. It's an opportunity for parents and kis to talk and test their brains and have fun doing it. That's entertainment.

Micheal Myers: When did you start your production company and why? Who has been your most memorable interview?

Pamela Wallin: I started my company 6 and a half years ago. I was fired by the CBC and I decided I wanted to continue to make programs I could be proud of. So I set about putting together a company where I could have some control over both form and content. As an add-on ... It's also given me the freedom to pursue all forms of media. We do television, we have a large Internet project with Chapters that includes writing a column for a virtual book club. I do live events, interviews on stage, write articles and books. And I think the freedom of being an independent producer allows me to be really part of a multi-media world.

Richard (Rick) Wurm: Hi, Mrs. Wallin. I am 13 and are a big fan, what was it like to host a game show? Good Luck with your interviewing!

Pamela Wallin: I'm so glad I've got a 13 year old fan. That's terrific. It's part of the new world. It was a lot of fun to host a game show. It was nothing like anything I'd done before. It was exciting to see a group of Canadians together in New York doing our version of the program, just as well as any other country in the world.

STUART: HEY PAMELA....why didn't they tape the show here in Canada? It would have been cheaper

Pamela Wallin: No, it wouldn't have been cheaper. The reason we taped in New York is because it would've been prohibitive to build a replica of the set. It's a highly advanced set, totally wired for computers and telephone systems, and it's a 12-camera shoot. It would cost millions of dollars for the set alone.

Ollie: Would you ever leave your talk show to host the series? Is that going to happen?

Pamela Wallin: No, I don't think we'll actually have a full-time program in Canada because the American show is there already three nights a week, and sometimes four. We have this unique situation in Canada, where doing a full-time show would prove very difficult. And, no, I would never give up the joy of doing a broad range of interviews. I love my work.But I'm looking forward to hosting more specials if that's possible.

Charlie: Did you happen to know many of the questions that the contestants guessed wrong? Did that bother you as they were approacing the wrong answer?

Pamela Wallin: No, I think I, like everybody else watching at home, plays along. When you see the question you always say, do I know that. I think I got somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of the answers.

Keith: How are you enjoying being the interviewee for a change? It's quite a treat for us civilians. Thanks, Pam.

Pamela Wallin: It's fun being on the other side. It's much more difficult asking questions than answering them.

Matt: If you could interwiew anyone, form any time, who would it be?

Pamela Wallin: I've thought about that a lot, and I guess some of the obvious would be Shakespeare. It would be great to figure out what was going on in his head, and whether he means all the things we've come to interpret them to mean. But I'm quite firmly rooted in the present, so I'm happy to talk to people in the here and now. I would like to have interviewed Dorothy Parker. In the here and now, one of the people that really touches me and I've never had the opportunity to speak with,though I did meet him, was Nelson Mandela. He's one of the marvels of humanity. His will and his spirit are incredible forces, and I'd like to understand him better.

Remie G.: Do you think there's a chance the CDN version of Millionaire might have guest hosts? What would you think of say, Mike Bullard taking a stab at it?

Pamela Wallin: I don't know that it'll be on the air enough to contemplate that. But it's CTV's decision. And Mike would certainly be fun, as long as he promised not to give away the answers.

Joe Fortin: Here's a non-Millionair question for you. Some of the people here at Longlac House at Lakehead University have been wondering if you like carrot cake or not. I know, silly question, but I'd though I'd ask.

Pamela Wallin: I love carrot cake. I hope this doesn't have any heavy symbolism attached to it.

Pamela Wallin: I'd like to thank you all for participating in this online conversation. We look forward to continuing our television shows and online projects, and we hope to be in webcasting soon. So maybe our next conversation will be face to face, on screen that is. And I want to wish everybody luck in trying to qualify to become a contestant on the next round of "Millioniare".

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Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (Canadian version) host Pamela Wallin.

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