LAST EDITED ON 09-20-02 AT 03:11 AM (EST)
One of the problems that has plagued ABC executives with this show is making it appealing and fair to both timezones... since people on the East Coast have a three-hour time advantage in viewing the episodes, the producers were trying to figure out how to make sure that people on the West Coast had an equal chance to play.
I would speculate that the original plan was to allow the public to try to "win" the prize during primetime on a night soon after the final episode... since there is a three-hour time-zone gap from East Coast to West, they could easily air the final announcement coast-to-coast at, say, 11pm EST, 10pm CST, 9pm MST, and 8pm PST...
The problem is that, since ABC has local broadcast affiliates, they are not allowed to change local programming (which airs prior to 8 pm local time) on affiliate stations... therefore, they would be unable to broadcast the "live" announcement in Alaska or Hawaii at 7pm and 6pm respectively.
Their original way of handling this appears to have been to exclude those states from eligibility, but after some backlash, they must have come up with a new plan (either a different "medium" through which the final clue would be dispensed, or a deal with the local stations in those regions to allow ABC to cut into local programming with the final Push clue).
Once again, this is pure speculation, but since the Producers have assured the press that you can solve the entire puzzle without visiting any internet sites, I have a hard time imagining what medium other than television they could use to broadcast the final clue.
EDIT: Another possibility is to broadcast the "final clue" during Monday Night Football, which is carried live in all timezones... this might also help to generate publicity for a PN2.
EDIT #2: The more that I think about it, the more that I, personally, would set up the final clue as follows:
In final episode, if you have followed all of the clues, you know "where" the money is located (at a warehouse, for example)... during Monday Night Football, a seemingly normal advertisement airs for this fictious warehouse, offering people the chance to use their services (whatever they are)... this ad also features a 1-800-number that you can call for more information... the first person to call (potentially with an access code or something) wins.
You never know what might be up my sleeeve...