Backstage with Sandy Kenyon: 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (WABC) -- "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" is taped in Las Vegas, and to stand where the contestants stand is to feel the heat.

"When someone is good, when someone's on a roll, when you have a great game going, it's like a sporting event," host Chris Harrison said. "When it's a nailbiter, you can feel it. You can cut the tension with a knife. The excitement is palpable, and everybody feeds off it. As do I."

No game show gives away more money than "Millionaire," and while Harrison may make it look easy, it's a combination of skill and recognizing the moment.

"I try to pump up excitement no matter what the game looks like," he said. "But on a good day, you don't have to try. It comes to you."

Harrison took me inside the arena, one thing you instantly notice is that the audience is really, really close. That allows them to take in and feel the iconic set.

"This is Yankee Stadium," he said. "You know? This is it. Everybody recognizes it. The podium, the lights, the floor, the money, all of it. It really hits them when they walk in here."

Harrison tapes multiple shows on the same day, but each contestant is a unique experience.

"It's never lost on me that whoever stands where you are, this is their day," he said. "This is their moment. Whether it's my first show or my 180th show, it doesn't matter. This is your one time to go for a million dollars."

It's a fact that offers hope and opportunity that could be lost on some in the limelight.

"You never know when it happens, but there's a moment in the game when you hit that life-changing money," Harrison said. "And you see it wash over, and tears start welling up. And you realize you've just changed someone's life. And you're like, this game can be impactful. It's not always like that. It's not always earth-shattering. But when you get those moments, all the sudden, man, it really makes it worthwhile."

This season, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" will pass a milestone when more than $100 million will have been given away on the syndicated version of this long-running show.

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