Sunday, August 23, 2009


Well, this is it- the last night of the 10th Anniversary run of “WWTBAM” on ABC. Our returning contestant, Jim Robinson, is wearing money on his vest and he’s hoping to win a lot of it before this night is over. BTW, prior to being on the show, he’s been driving a car that’s getting close to clunker status (don’t forget ladies and gentlemen, the Cash for Clunkers program ends after tomorrow night), and his kitchen doesn’t have a ceiling or any cabinets. Let’s show everybody the 15 categories he’s working with right now, because they weren’t shown on the last episode due to time:

Lower Tier: Aw, Shoot, Built to Drive, U.S. Holidays, Barbie & Just My Type
Middle Tier: In the Shade, What Am I?, Mother Teresa, Old Yeller & Comedy Catchphrases

Upper Tier: Indie Cred, Ticket Master, History Books, Read Me a Story & A Few Words

Remember, he has 2:42 on his million dollar question clock, and has only used up his Ask the Audience lifeline. The Expert for tonight’s finale is Bill Nye the Science Guy. Here is his $25,000 question in Comedy Catchphrases:

In a much-quoted “SNL” sketch, Christopher Walken plays a 1970s record producer who demands what from his band?

A: Extra triangle!
B: Louder tambourine!
C: Another gong!
D: More cowbell!

He’s an “SNL” fan, but he doesn’t remember that particular sketch, so he will Phone a Friend with :11 left. Available on the line are Bill (Bolden, MS), Christian (Columbus, MS) and Mattie (Starkville, MS). He decides to call his brother Christian, who Regis mistakenly calls Bill when he gets on the line! Anyway, Christian’s 100% sure it’s more cowbell (“The Price is Right” announcer Rich Fields once said that line during the first IUFB of the “Price” episode last season where George Diaz won over $82K in cash and stuff). Jim then immediately locks that in for $25,000! With 2:53 on his million dollar clock, here’s his $50,000 Indie Cred question:

Where are the West Indies?

A: Just south of Thailand
B: Just north of Venezuela
C: Just west of Australia
D: Just east of Somalia

Jim’s sure that the West Indies are just north of Venezuela, so he makes that his final answer with :34 left…right for $50,000 and a new million dollar clock total of 3:27! Ticket Master is the subject of this $100,000 question:

As of August 1, what’s the top-grossing movie in the U.S. in 2009?

A: “Up”
B: “Star Trek”
C: “The Hangover”
D: “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

He will Double Dip at the :11 mark. His first answer is “Up”…I don’t think so. His other guess is “Star Trek” with six seconds left. Prior to activating the Double Dip, Jim says he read something about “The Hangover”, but didn’t think it was the #1 grossing movie. The good news is that he’s right about that…

A: “Up”
B: “Star Trek”

C: “The Hangover”
D: “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

…the bad news is that it’s not “Star Trek” either. Tough luck, Jim, but at least you won $25,000; hope that helps out a lot with either one of your problems!

(Note: The category tree was finally shown just before the $100,000 question was asked; Matt Cohen’s getting lazy again!)

Here is the final group of 10 new contestants:

Ken Basin (L.A.)
Brian Peterkin (Brooklyn, NY)

Kazia MacLeod (San Diego)
Alan Carver (Federal Way, WA)
London Pfahler (Upland, CA)
Matt Sittel (Bellevue, NE)

Will Capp (Tampa, FL)
Melissa Brown (Syracuse, NY)

Russell Carmon (Bryan, TX)
Karen Geddeis (Elmhurst, IL)

I will tell you right now this will be the final Fastest Finger Question of this series. Here it is:

Put these U.S. states in order of their total population, starting with the smallest.

A: Wyoming
B: Delaware
C: Pennsylvania
D: North Carolina


The last one to make it into the hotseat is…

Ken: 3.71
Kazia: 7.2
Alan: 6.55
Matt: 5.34

…Ken, a former “Jeopardy!” contestant during its 2003 College Championship (he won $5,000 back then)! Also, his daughter Pam won the 2000 College Championship. Currently, he’s an entertainment lawyer. His categories:

Lower Tier: Selling It, In the Shower, It’s Elemental, Award Shows & UPS
Middle Tier: Phrase Origins, From the Swahili, Grandmas, A Talented Life & Spell It Out
Upper Tier: He’s a Keeper, Listen Carefully, In the Middle, Making Headlines & Bottoms Up!

In a straightforward 2008 ad campaign, Michelob used the slogan “Crafting a Better” what?

A: Coffee
B: Soda
C: Beer
D: Double chin

GUESS (:09): Beer- CORRECT (:54)

Hair products known as “2-in-1s” are typically a combination of shampoo and what?

A: Toothpaste
B: Conditioner
C: Shaving cream
D: Deodorant

GUESS (:07): Conditioner- CORRECT (1:01)

On the periodic table, what’s the only element that’s named after a U.S. state?

A: Europium
B: Neptunium
C: Californium
D: Einsteinium

GUESS (:07): Californium- YOU BET (1:08)

In 2009, what entertainment awards show announced that it was expanding its pool of “Best Picture” nominees from five films to 10?

A: Tonys
B: Emmys
C: Grammys
D: Oscars

GUESS (:11): Oscars- CORRECT (1:19)

To maintain its vast fleet of delivery vehicles, each year UPS uses thousands of gallons of what color paint?

A: Brown
B: Blue
C: Red
D: Green

GUESS (:09): Brown- REACHES $1,000 (1:28)

Which of these expressions comes from golf and not baseball?

A: Right off the bat
B: Par for the course
C: Step up to the plate
D: Out of left field

GUESS (:21): Par for the course- RIGHT (1:49)

What popular game’s name is derived from a Swahili word meaning “to build”?

A: Scrabble
B: Jenga
C: Boggle
D: Dominoes

GUESS (:20): Jenga- RIGHT (2:09)

What 2009 big screen comedy features Betty White as a wacky grandmother?

A: “I Love You, Man”
B: “The Proposal”
C: “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”
D: “The Hangover”

GUESS (:21): “The Proposal”- RIGHT (2:30)

Reflecting on a career that brought him worldwide fame, Garry Kasparov penned a 2007 book titled “How Life Imitates” what?

A: Cooking
B: Tennis
C: Chess
D: Fashion

GUESS (:20): Chess- RIGHT (2:50)

Which of these historical names can be spelled out by writing three U.S. state abbreviations in a row?


GUESS (:18): GANDHI- REACHES $25,000 (3:08)

Ken’s the only contestant on this edition of the show to make it to the upper tier with all four lifelines intact! Here’s his $50,000 question in the category of He’s a Keeper:

Which member of the Obama Cabinet held the same job in George W. Bush’s administration?

A: Robert Gates
B: Ken Salazar
C: Timothy Geithner
D: Steven Chu

Ken locks in Gates at :35...still the Secretary of Defense, it is indeed him for $50,000! 3:43 now on his million dollar clock, and all of the lifelines are yet still intact as we “Listen Carefully” to this $100,000 question:

In the 1984 movie “Gremlins”, which of the following is NOT one of the three rules for taking care of the creature Mogwai?

A: Don’t get him wet
B: Keep him out of bright light
C: Never feed him after midnight
D: Don’t let him sleep too much

After eliminating choices A & C in his head, he decides to Double Dip with :26 left. His first answer is don’t let him sleep too much…correct for $100,000! He has now broken the four-minute mark when it comes to the current amount of time for the million dollar question, because he now has 4:09. For $250,000, here’s the question in the topic of In the Middle:

If you want to take a vacation to the “Geographic Center of North America”, you should pack up your car and drive to what U.S. state?

A: North Dakota
B: Texas
C: Colorado
D: Wyoming

(Note: As of last season, the graphic at the top-right corner of our screens that tells us how much a contestant is playing for on the given question, starting at the $16,000 level, had been discontinued. For at least tonight, that has been reinstated, starting with this guy’s $250K question.)

He wants to save some lifelines for the million dollar question, so he’s going to answer right away. His final answer with :25 left is North Dakota…
A: North Dakota
B: Texas
C: Colorado
D: Wyoming

…he now has $250,000!! His new million dollar clock total is 4:34.

BTW, in our audience this evening is the last contestant up until now to have gone all the way on this show (and also the only female ever to win the million here), Nancy Christy!

For half a million bucks, here’s a question about something that has been Making Headlines:

What film actress’ death was reported on the front page of the debut issue of USA Today?

A: Audrey Hepburn
B: Marlene Dietrich
C: Grace Kelly
D: Greta Garbo

11 seconds into this question, Ken Phones a Friend. His phone menu consists of former “Jeopardy!” champion (and the third-place finisher in the show’s Ultimate Tournament of Champions) Jerome Vered (L.A.), Alan (North Hills, CA) and Dan (Cambridge, MA). Ken decides to select Jerome, who’s only 35% sure it’s Grace Kelly. Then, at the :26 mark, he calls up Bill Nye for help, who’s guessing it’s Audrey Hepburn. With five seconds left…Ken’s going for it! His final answer is Grace Kelly…
A: Audrey Hepburn
B: Marlene Dietrich
C: Grace Kelly
D: Greta Garbo

…JEROME’S RIGHT FOR $500,000!!!!! Since this new format was instituted last season, Ken’s the first contestant to make it this far!! He’s also the first contestant since the last $500K winner, Lyn Payne, to have the Ask the Audience lifeline available for the final question. He will have a final total of 4:39 to answer this question in the category of Bottoms Up! For ONE MILLION DOLLARS, this is the question-we’re all with you, Mr. Basin:

For ordering his favorite beverages on demand, LBJ had four buttons installed in the Oval Office labeled “coffee”, “tea”, “Coke” and what?

A: Fresca
B: V8
C: Yoo-Hoo
D: A&W

With 3:36 left, he wisely doesn’t make any guess right now and will Ask the Audience, so as to not heavily influence them in any way. 40% said Yoo-Hoo, 33% said A&W, 15% said Fresca and 12% said V8. With 1:12 left…
…HE’S GOING FOR IT!!!!! His final answer is the audience’s majority of Yoo-Hoo. That means his half million dollar check is now kaput (as is said annuity). Let me remind you that the last time the audience was asked on the Million Dollar Question, they were wrong and Lyn Payne wisely decided to walk away with the half million dollars. Furthermore, if Ken should be incorrect, he’ll lose $475,000, joining three unfortunate “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” contestants, and he’ll be the first person to lose that much on this show. Remember, his final answer is Yoo-Hoo…

A: Fresca
B: V8
C: Yoo-Hoo
D: A&W


OUCH. The audience has gotten another Million Dollar Question wrong. It was Fresca, the grapefruit-flavored soft drink by Coca-Cola that now no longer exists. Well folks, after 10 years on the air, we finally have a Million Dollar Question loser on this show in America. As they say in this business, there’s always a first for everything. He goes home with $25,000 (for a total of $30,000) and a ton of applause. After tonight, you “Millionaire” players have learned a new lesson- when you get to the Million Dollar Question, if you still have the audience lifeline left, don’t trust them (even though some of the 12 millionaires on this show did Ask the Audience and did get the $1M question right) after asking them the question.

Video Bonus: "Millionaire" $1M QUESTION DISASTER

(Note: The clock for the $1M question is gold.)

And now, Meredith Viera comes in to inform Regis…that they’ll be trading places (they won‘t be switching chairs, however)! That’s right, Meredith will be hosting the final question of this series, and Regis will be trying to answer it for $50,000 for the same high school he played for when he was on “Fifth Grader“, Cardinal Hayes. Furthermore, Meredith announces that the nine leftover contestants tonight will be next season’s first nine contestants on the syndicated show! Here’s the question:

Which of the following has never been the answer to a winning Million Dollar Question on the primetime version of “Millionaire”?

A: Richard Nixon
B: Peru
C: The Grapes of Wrath
D: 93 million

Regis uses the Double Dip after eliminating Richard Nixon & 93 million (which of course, are the right answers to the first two winning MDQs from John Carpenter & Dan Blosky, respectively). His first response is Peru…but that was the answer to David Goodman's winning question, so he’s wrong. He then locks in The Grapes of Wrath to win the cash for his charity!

What a wild ending to this latest primetime run of “Millionaire”. I’m so glad that I got back to recapping this show after over a year not doing my own recaps of this show. During these 11 nights, the civilian contestants have won a grand total of $751,000. I hope that the syndicated version of the show will be back in my area in a few weeks from now. See you next time!
Post a Comment