Category: Jeopardy

Anderson Cooper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 'Jeopardy' power players

Alex Trebek

The credentials of this year's "Jeopardy!" Power Players Week celebrity contestants are collectively quite impressive: 21 Emmy Awards, eight Peabody Awards, four Pulitzer Prizes, a Grammy and the record for all-time leading scorer in the NBA.

The celebrities, appearing on "Jeopardy's" special week of shows being taped in DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., will include CNN's Anderson Cooper, former L.A. Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Fox News' Chris Wallace, comedian Lewis Black, CNBC's David Faber, the New York Times' Thomas Friedman, former White House press secretaries Robert Gibbs and Dana Perino, BBC's Katty Kay, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell and Chuck Todd, CNN's Lizzie O'Leary, Dr. Mehmet Oz and the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page.

Though "Celebrity Jeopardy!" has become a tradition, this is only the third Power Players week in the show's 28 years. In past years, Sen. Al Franken, Bob Woodard and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer have participated. And one can presume that the questions will be a couple of degrees more difficult than the kind tossed at such "Celebrity Jeopardy" participants as Andy Richter and "Desperate Housewives'" Dana Delany.

The shows will be taped on Saturday, and the players will be competing for a minimum of $50,000 for the charity of their choice. (Even the losers will get $10,000 donated to their favorite charities.) The shows will air the week of May 14-18.

"Jeopardy!" itself has an impressive credential. It's currently listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for having the most awards given to a TV game show. It was recently awarded a 2012 Peabody Award and picked up the 2011 Emmy Award for outstanding game/audience particpation program.

The show's accolades and longevity have inspired mockery, including the memorable "Saturday Night Live" sketch of "Celebrity Jeopardy" featuring Darrell Hammond as a super-beligerant Sean Connery.


'Game of Thrones,' 'Colbert Report' among Peabody winners

'Jeopardy!' finds the right ratings answers with IBM's Watson and Ken Jennings

Watson wins 'Jeopardy!' finale; Ken Jennings welcomes 'our new computer overlords'

— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times.

Tweeter's Digest: A roundup of the week in TV tweets

Lea Mchale In Tweeter's Digest, we look at the events of the week as seen through the eyes -- or rather, the Twitter feeds -- of TV personalities.

This week, "Glee" stars Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison tweeted from the Grammys, Tyra Banks and Joel McHale offered V-Day advice, "Lost" creator Damon Lindelof and "How I Met Your Mother" creator Carter Bays worried about the Watson computer on "Jeopardy," Stephen Colbert kept an eye on the Spider-Man musical, and reality TV villain Spencer Pratt kept an eye on James Franco. Meanwhile, TV legend Cloris Leachman just tweets ... because she can. 

See these and other celebs tweet after the jump.

Continue reading »

'Jeopardy!' finds the right ratings answers with IBM's Watson and Ken Jennings

Jeopardy The folks at "Jeopardy!" need to invite this Watson guy over a little more often.

This week's "exhibition match" between IBM's computer Watson and quiz champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter drove the syndicated game show to some of its best numbers in years.

The Wednesday episode, which ended with Watson beating Jennings and Rutter and winning $1 million earmarked for charities, was the No. 2 program of the night among households, behind only Fox's "American Idol"  (a 9.1 rating vs. "Idol's" 14.5 rating).

Even higher-rated was the Tuesday program, which did a 9.5 rating/17 share -- "Jeopardy!'s" best numbers since May 2005, when Jennings and Rutter squared off in a champions' tournament.

For the three days, "Jeopardy!" averaged a hefty 9.1 rating. Last February, the game show was averaging a 7.0 rating. (Nielsen will not deliver total viewer counts for a couple weeks.)

What did you think of the showdown between the computer and the human champs?

-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Host Alex Trebek (left), with Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, pose with the computer Watson. Credit: Associated Press


Watson wins 'Jeopardy!' finale; Ken Jennings welcomes 'our new computer overlords'

Watson "Jeopardy!" has a new champion, and its name is Watson. During the Wednesday finale of the three-day "Jeopardy!" challenge that pitted all-stars Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter against an IBM-engineered supercomputer, the machine ultimately beat the men. Watson finished with $77,147, with Jennings coming in second with $24,000 and Brad Rutter last with $21,600.

The win is a publicity coup for IBM, which created Watson as part of its Great Mind Challenge series. The company hopes to sell Watson’s question-answering technology for use in hospitals and call center help desks. The last time IBM created a man-versus-machine challenge of this scale, it built Deep Blue, the chess-playing supercomputer that beat champ Garry Kasparov.

Watson had a huge advantage going into the final match, with a lead of more than $20,000 over Rutter, then in second place. Though it missed a Daily Double answer regarding "The Elements of Style," it showed its versatility later, buzzing in correctly on everything from "The Simpsons" to halter tops.

Watson also won Wednesday night’s Final Jeopardy round, offering the correct answer to a clue asking which author's most famous novel was inspired by William Wilkinson's "An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia." Watson, Jennings and Rutter all knew the answer was Bram Stoker.

Ken Jennings, ever a good sport, bowed to the new "Jeopardy!" champ. “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” he wrote on his video screen, quoting an episode of “The Simpsons."


Photos: Humans vs. supercomputers on film, TV

'Jeopardy!' challenge, Day 2: Watson annihilates weak humans

'Jeopardy' invites supercomputer Watson to destroy all humans

— Melissa Maerz

Photo: Ken Jennings, Watson and Brad Rutter on "Jeopardy!" Credit: Carol Kaelson / Associated Press.

'Jeopardy!' challenge, Day 2: Watson annihilates weak humans

Watson Those "Jeopardy!" champs just got pwned: On Tuesday night's episode of the greatest man-versus-machine showdown in recent history, IBM super-computer Watson ended up with $35,734, trumping all-star champs Brad Rutter ($10,400) and Ken Jennings ($4,800).

From the very beginning, Watson tore off on a winning streak, beating the competition to the buzzer 24 out of 30 times, answering nearly every question correctly (it only stumbled on an art history question that Jennings and Rutter also missed) and even winning two Daily Doubles.

Its only massive blunder came during the Final Jeopardy question: "Its largest airport is named for a WWII hero. Its second largest for a WWII battle." The answer was Chicago, which Jennings and Rutter both knew. Watson chose "What is Toronto???" its extra question marks revealing an almost charming lack of confidence. (Poor Watson must've had trouble finding Toronto on a map of American cities.) But having only wagered less than $1,000, it still came out more than $25,000 ahead of Rutter. "Oh, you little sneak!" exclaimed host Alex Trebek.

Crafty, that little super-computer. On Wednesday, it will get its final chance to show if it's got enough mega-mind to school us all. We wonder what Watson would do with all that money. Maybe it could buy itself a Ms. Watson to cheer it on.

-- Melissa Maerz

Photo: Ken Jennings, Watson and Brad Rutter on "Jeopardy!" Credit: Carol Kaelson / Associated Press

Watson ties Brad Rutter on 'Jeopardy!' Outcome of man-versus-machine battle uncertain!



Score one for humankind! On Monday night, "Jeopardy!" champion Brad Rutter tied with IBM super- computer Watson at $5,000 apiece, while "Jeopardy!" all-star Ken Jennings took third place with $2,000.

At first it seemed as though Watson would crush us all: It scored 12 of the first 16 queries without getting a single one wrong. But after four incorrect answers, Rutter began to catch up.

Two nights remain in the match, and the competitors haven't even reached the Double Jeopardy or Final Jeopardy rounds. We won't bow to you yet, All-Powerful Machine That Will Inevitably Enslave Us!

-- Melissa Maerz

Photo: Alex Trebek, Ken Jennings, Watson and Brad Rutter. Credit: Associated Press

'Jeopardy' invites supercomputer Watson to destroy all humans

Watson If supercomputers would like to enslave us feeble humans one day, they'll have to beat us at our own game first -- so how 'bout a "Jeopardy" match?

They'll get their chance Monday, when "Jeopardy" champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter face off against Watson, the world's most advanced question-answering system, built by IBM.

Even "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek told us he feels a little threatened by this new robot genius. "When I met the IBM guys I said, 'Guys, I think it’s only five years away before you can come up with a computer who can host 'Jeopardy.' "

We'll bet he'd be extra impressed if that computer system could rock a classic Trebek mustache.

For more on Watson and its quest for world domination, read our story, "Ah, puny mortal, I will crush you with my brain."

-- Melissa Maerz

Photo: Alex Trebek, Ken Jennings, Watson, and Brad Rutter. Credit: Associated Press.

The computer strikes back: 'Jeopardy!' hosts first man vs. machine competition

Will robots one day crush our puny human brains? Maybe! And it might happen sooner than we think. On Tuesday, IBM and "Jeopardy!" announced that the quiz show will host its first man vs. machine game, pitting "Jeopardy!" all-star champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter against a frighteningly smart computing system named "Watson," built by a team of IBM scientists. ("Jeopardy!" fans, you can learn more about your new robot overlord in the video above.)

During two matches scheduled to air over Feb. 14, 15 and 16, the show will pose a great challenge to Watson: Namely, can a humble collection of ones and zeroes possibly answer questions with the same speed, ear for irony, and knowledge of obscure Lady Gaga trivia as an actual Homo sapien? Considering that Watson has played more than 50 "sparring games" against former "Jeopardy!" Tournament of Champions contestants and passed the same "Jeopardy!" test that humans take to qualify, we'll guess that the answer is yes. Now it's only a matter of time before Watson trumps our people on "Dancing With the Stars." We'll take "Signs of the Impending Techno-Apocalypse" for $400, Alex!

— Melissa Maerz



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