#10: (Viewers’ Choice) Alex Trebek Grows Back His Iconic Mustache – Jeopardy!
For the past few decades since Alex Trebek has been on television, he has been closely associated with hosting Jeopardy! for more than 30 years, his seemingly “smug” attitude towards the contestants and his iconic mustache. On the 31st season premiere episode, aired on September 15, Alex Trebek grew back his mustache after shaving it off over 13 years ago in 2001. Although he left it up to the viewers via social media, with the help of the hashtags #KeepItTrebek or #ShaveItTrebek, to vote whether or not he should keep the ’stache for the remainder of the season. Trebek ultimate decided to shave it off after a month of shows. I know his wife was particularly relieved by the decision. Check it out in the clip below.
#9: (Viewers’ Choice) ‘NEW BABY BUGGY’ Bonus Round Quick Solve – Wheel of Fortune
For those of you who have been watching Wheel for quite sometime, Pat Sajak often encourages the bonus round contestants to make as many guesses as they can within the 10 second-limit and to “sound it out” based on the letters given. This viewer-selected moment will perhaps go down in history as one of the best wild guesses ever seen in a Wheel bonus round. Emil De Leon, from Daly City, CA, earned an additional $45,000 (plus a TSA pat-down from Sajak) for his efforts.
#8: (Viewers’ Choice) Sarah Manchester Becomes Wheel’s Third Million-Dollar Winner – Wheel of Fortune
On the subject of the long-running syndicated show, this year was chock full of hilarious and priceless Wheel moments. The one that stood out from the rest this year was a contestant by the name of Sarah Manchester becoming the show’s third millionaire by correctly guessing “LOUD LAUGHTER” bonus puzzle for a soon-to-be-revealed $1 million prize. Manchester, a teacher from Silver Spring, MD, won a grand total of $1,017,490 for the night. Check out her win in the clip below.
#7: First Franchise Daytime Emmy Win – Let’s Make A Deal
This year’s Daytime Emmys was a year of firsts for game shows including Steve Harvey’s first Emmy win for hosting and Let’s Make A Deal winning its first Emmy ever for “Outstanding Original Song”. Deal was also the first game show in history to win a Daytime Creative Arts Emmy in the category for the improvised song “30,000 Reasons To Love Me” with Wayne Brady as the singer and Cat Gray as the composer. Check out the Emmy-Award winning single, “30,000 Reasons To Love Me” in the clip below.
#6: Dougal Richardson Wins Record-Breaking $535,000 – Million Dollar Minute
This was quite a year for the one-year-old Australian game show with the slew of champions playing games for six-figure cash totals including Lisa Paton becoming the first contestant to face the Million Dollar Minute bonus game with $1 million at stake, Pierre Sutcliffe and Jonathan Maher winning over $500,000 earlier this year and Marc Vandenberg becoming the first champion to hit the new $300,000 safety net. In October, Dougal Richardson became the show’s biggest winner upon winning $535,000 during his 11-game appearance. Nicknamed “the Human Google”, Richardson also broke the “Safe Money” record by securing a guaranteed $109,000 and is the recipient of the biggest cash prize ever awarded on an afternoon program in the history of Australian television. Check out Yahoo! 7’s highlight article on Richardson for more information on his successful run.
#5: Chris Tarrant’s Last Episode – Millionaire (UK)
Moving on the top half of the annual countdown list, coming in at number five is Chris Tarrant’s leaving ITV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and the show ending its run in the U.K. The iconic game show that started a worldwide television phenomenon officially aired its final broadcast on February 11, 2014 after airing on ITV for 15 years. The final episode aired was a retrospective clip show entitled “Chris’ Final Answer”, showing some of Tarrant’s most memorable moments that had occurred during the show’s run. The final celebrity game aired a week earlier on February 4. On the penultimate episode, Alexandra Burke and David Emanuel won £5,000; Sir Chris Hoy and Kevin Bridges won £20,000; James Nesbitt and Dom Joly won £1,000 and Rachel Riley and Dave Myers won £1,000 to split between their chosen charities and the night’s viewer prize pot for the show’s home viewer contest. Check out the final episode in the video below.
#4: 2014 Tournament of Champions Finals (Chu, Collins, Ingram) – Jeopardy!
Building on the topic on big years for certain game shows, Jeopardy! also had a fantastic year capturing another Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Game Show”, Alex Trebek’s induction into the Guinness Book of World Records for “most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter” along with other engaging moments including the 2014 Tournament of Champions. This was one of the more interesting Jeopardy! tournaments to occur in recent history, especially with Arthur Chu, Julia Collins and Ben Ingram competing in the two-game final round. While Chu and Collins entered the competition as the tourney favorites to win it all, Ingram, who won eight games and $177,534 during his original appearance in July 2013, snatched the championship from his opponents and added an additional $250,000 to his overall Jeopardy! winnings. Chu placed second winning $100,000 and Collins placed third winning $50,000. Check out the full episode of the final tournament game in the video below.
#3: Countdown Breaks Record For Most Series Aired (70)
On September 4, Guinness had officially awarded Channel 4’s Countdown the world record for the “most series broadcast for a TV game show” with 71 series aired thus far. The 72nd series of episodes will premiere January 5 with Nick Hewer entering into his seventh series as host and math genius Rachael Riley and lexicographer Susie Dent will be returning as well. Countdown was the first show to air on Channel 4 in 1982 and 6,000 episodes have aired with five hosts and multiple co-hosts including the original numbers mastermind, Mensa member Carol Vorderman. Check out Guinness’s article for more information on Countdown‘s incredible feat.
#2: Julia Collins & Arthur Chu – Jeopardy!
Note: Since both contestants were equally exceptional in their performances on the show, I decided to add them both in the same tier on this Top 10 list.
The clue: Julia Collins & Arthur Chu — The answer: Who are the two contestants who shook up the Jeopardy! world this year?” Julia Collins, a supply chain professional from Kenilworth, IL, and Arthur Chu, a compliance analyst and voiceover artist from Broadview Heights, Ohio, were perhaps two of the most trending Jeopardy! contestants in 2014. Julia Collins’s claim to fame was becoming the show’s winningest female champion ($429,100) and placed second among the list of longest winning streaks in the show’s history (20) during her appearance in May. A few months earlier, Arthur Chu was the talk of the town because of his “controversial”, ‘Forrest Bounce’-styled strategy that apparently offended some viewers and led to accusations of Chu sucking the fun out of the game and playing it unfairly. Chu ended his winning streak on March 1, winning 11 games and $298,200. Check out the highlight clips below from Collins and Chu’s appearances.
#1: Brad Rutter Wins Battle of The Decades Tournament – Jeopardy!
Topping the charts in this edition’s “Best of 2014” Top 10 Countdown list is Brad Rutter winning the Battle of The Decades Tournament. This special event occurred during Jeopardy’s 30th milestone season in syndication and kicked off in February. The tournament featured 45 of the best champions to ever grace the Jeopardy! stage competing against each other in the five non-consecutive-week event with the winner receiving $1 million. The final two-game match saw superchamps Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and Roger Craig vie for the million bucks. At the end, Rutter emerged victorious by winning his fourth Jeopardy! tournament title and solidifying his top spot as the biggest money winner in Jeopardy! history and won his fourth Jeopardy! tournament title. Check out the Rutter’s winning moment in the clip below.
Honorable Mentions: Here are five more exciting game show moments that missed the Top 10 list by “that” much:
- 2014 Teen Tournament Finals Tie Breaker (Viewers’ Choice Runner Up) – Jeopardy!
- Craig Ferguson & Drew Carey Switch Shows For April Fools Day – The Price Is Right (US)
- Roop Singh Wins £250,000 – Deal or No Deal (UK)
- Matt DeSanto Breaks Main Game Record With $91,000+ – Wheel of Fortune
- Celebrity Name Game Debuts With Craig Ferguson – Celebrity Name Game