Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Kenneth Wayne "Ken" Jennings III (born May 23, 1974) is an American game show contestant. Jennings is noted for holding the record for the longest winning streak on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy! and was the all-time leading money winner on American game shows. In 2004, Jennings won 74 Jeopardy! games before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance. His total earnings on Jeopardy! are US $3,022,700 ($2,520,700 over his 74 wins, a $2,000 second-place prize in his 75th appearance, and a $500,000 second-place prize in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions).
During his first run of Jeopardy! appearances, Jennings earned the record for the highest American game show winnings. His total was surpassed by Brad Rutter, who defeated Jennings in the finals of the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions (first aired on May 25, 2005), adding $2,000,000 to Rutter's existing Jeopardy! winnings. Jennings regained the record after appearing on several other game shows, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (first aired on October 10, 2008), though Rutter retains the Jeopardy! record.
After his success on Jeopardy!, Jennings wrote of his experience and explored American trivia history and culture in Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, published in 2006. Jennings also appeared as a member of the mob on the game show 1 vs. 100 in 2006, and in 2007 he was the champion of the US version of Grand Slam.
On November 30, 2004, Jennings's long reign as Jeopardy! champion ended when he lost his seventy-fifth game to challenger Nancy Zerg. Jennings responded incorrectly to both Double Jeopardy! Daily Doubles, causing him to lose a combined $10,200 ($5,400 and $4,800 respectively) and leaving him with $14,400 at the end of the round. As a result, for only the tenth time in 75 games Jennings did not have an insurmountable lead going into the Final Jeopardy! round. Only Jennings and Zerg, who ended Double Jeopardy! with $10,000, were able to play Final Jeopardy! as third place contestant David Hankins failed to finish with a positive score after Double Jeopardy!.
The Final Jeopardy! category was Business and Industry, and the answer was "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year." Zerg responded correctly with "What is H&R Block?" and wagered $4,401 of her $10,000, giving her a $1 lead over Jennings with his response still to be revealed. Jennings incorrectly responded with "What is FedEx?" and lost the game with a final score of $8,799 after his $5,601 wager was deducted from his score. He was awarded $2,000 for his second place finish, which gave him a final total of $2,522,700 for his run on Jeopardy! Zerg, who Jennings called a "formidable opponent," finished in third place on the next show.
Jennings' 75 matches took place over a span of 182 calendar days, which included stoppages for the show's summer break, one Kids Week series of episodes, the 2004 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, and the 2004 Jeopardy! College Championship.
The original version of the show, hosted by Art Fleming, which debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964, was taped in Studio 6A at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. In addition to Studio 6A, Studio 8G was also frequently used to record the show.
The 1978 version of the show, The All-New Jeopardy!, was taped from NBC Studio 3 in Burbank, California, with a set designed by Henry Lickel and Dennis Roof.
When the syndicated Jeopardy! premiered in 1984, it was taped at Metromedia Stage 7, KTTV-TV, on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. From 1985 to 1994, the show was taped at Hollywood Center Studios' Stage 9.
After the final shows of Season 10 were taped on February 15, 1994, production moved to Sony Pictures Studios' Stage 10 on Washington Boulevard in Culver City, California, where the first shows of Season 11 were taped on July 12, 1994.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996 to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.
Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA's all-time leader in assists per game, with an average of 11.2. Johnson was a member of the "Dream Team", the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992.
Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He was rated the greatest NBA point guard of all time by ESPN in 2007. His friendship and rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, whom he faced in the 1979 NCAA finals and three NBA championship series, were well documented. Since his retirement, Johnson has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex, as well as a philanthropist and motivational speaker.
After a physical before the 1991–92 NBA season, Johnson discovered that he had tested positive for HIV. In a press conference held on November 7, 1991, Johnson made a public announcement that he would retire immediately. He stated that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV, and that he would dedicate his life to "battle this deadly disease." Johnson initially said that he did not know how he contracted the disease, but later acknowledged that it was through having multiple sexual partners during his playing career.