Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Another one bites the dust...

I'm a huge fan of game shows. Have been my whole life. Much to the chagrin of my father, who saw it as a waste of time, and fostering dreams of "getting something for nothing." I'm actually not entirely sure I disagree, but since the very definition of "grace" involves "getting something for nothing," I've never seen this as such a bad thing....

Anyone who's watched Jeopardy! in the past year probably knows about Ken Jennings. Ken broke virtually every record possible in his half-year-long run on Jeopardy! last year. (I've found one obscure exception.) To capitalize on Ken's popularity, the Jeopardy! producers have embarked on what they're calling "the Ultimate Tournament of Champions." This tournament is unprecedented in scale, showcasing about 150 former champions in a tournament that will run for several months. The two winners of the tournament will face off against Ken in a 3-day final round playoff, the winner of which to receive $2 million dollars. (In response to the "something for nothing" crowd, I should note that this will probably be the most minding-numbingly exhausting "nothing" these players will ever have done!)

Yesterday saw the return of my personal perennial favorite Jeopardy! player, Eric Newhouse. Eric was the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament champion in 1989 (he was 15 at the time). He since has made appearances in that year's Tournament of Champions, the 1990 Super Jeopardy! tournament, the 1998 "Teen Reunion" tournament (which he also won), and the 2002 "Million Dollar Masters" tournament (in which he won second place). This last was intended as a kind of "Ultimate" event, but the success of Ken Jennings dictated that the producers come up with something even bigger. (For that matter, "Super Jeopardy!" was supposed to be such an event, as well....) In any event, Eric has been dubbed "Powerhouse" by no less an authority than Alex Trebek himself, and being about the same age as myself, I have always looked forward to his appearances.

Sadly, yesterday was not Eric's day. He made two bold "Daily Double" bids (the latter of which would have been a "true Daily Double") and missed both, thereby decimating his score. He only managed to survive to even play the "Final Jeopardy!" round by getting the last two questions in a row correct, bringing his score out of a deficit.

Needless to say, he did not win the game. Ahh, well. I guess I can look forward to Ken Jennings' return in a couple of months....

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