$75,000 rule

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Euphonium
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$75,000 rule

Post by Euphonium » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:55 pm

So there used to be a rule that any winnings in excess of $75,000 had to be donated to charity (Frank Spangenberg ran into this). What was the rationale for that rule, and when was it removed?
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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by MarkBarrett » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:24 am

Euphonium wrote:So there used to be a rule that any winnings in excess of $75,000 had to be donated to charity (Frank Spangenberg ran into this). What was the rationale for that rule, and when was it removed?
The details blur over time. I know Bob Blake was the first one to have excess donated to charity. I want to say the cap was raised to $100,000 before it was eliminated? Mark Born and Bruce Ikawa from the 1991 TOC did not have the charity portion come into play as I recall.

As for the rationale I would guess Stempel and van Doren come into play somehow?

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Volante » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:35 am

MarkBarrett wrote:
Euphonium wrote:So there used to be a rule that any winnings in excess of $75,000 had to be donated to charity (Frank Spangenberg ran into this). What was the rationale for that rule, and when was it removed?
The details blur over time. I know Bob Blake was the first one to have excess donated to charity. I want to say the cap was raised to $100,000 before it was eliminated? Mark Born and Bruce Ikawa from the 1991 TOC did not have the charity portion come into play as I recall.

As for the rationale I would guess Stempel and van Doren come into play somehow?
My first thought was Michael Larson. His Press Your Luck! run came just months before the current J! incarnation debuted, too.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by trainman » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:46 am

MarkBarrett wrote:As for the rationale I would guess Stempel and van Doren come into play somehow?
I believe that's correct -- the networks had put game-show winnings limits in place after the quiz show scandals, and when the ABC owned-and-operated stations group bought the rights to carry "Jeopardy!", it went under ABC's standards-and-practices rules, including their winnings limit.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by dhkendall » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:36 am

trainman wrote:
MarkBarrett wrote:As for the rationale I would guess Stempel and van Doren come into play somehow?
I believe that's correct -- the networks had put game-show winnings limits in place after the quiz show scandals, and when the ABC owned-and-operated stations group bought the rights to carry "Jeopardy!", it went under ABC's standards-and-practices rules, including their winnings limit.
Which would probably mean that the rules went away when ownership changed, which was mid-90s? (Since I don't think ABC has anything to do with the show any more, other than some of its stations running it as a syndicated show.)
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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Jeff-thecdboy » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:34 am

The money limits that J! had (before the dollar values were doubled in 2001) were as follows:

1984-90: $75,000
1990-97: $100,000
1997-01: $200,000

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by dhkendall » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:29 am

Jeff-thecdboy wrote:The money limits that J! had (before the dollar values were doubled in 2001) were as follows:

1984-90: $75,000
1990-97: $100,000
1997-01: $200,000
Source?
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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Jeff-thecdboy » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:45 am

^Even though I always thought the winnings cap ended when the dollar values doubled in 2001, here's the best I can find:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... inningsCap

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:05 pm

We're Bob and Frank the only ones who were a "victim" of this rule?

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Jeff-thecdboy » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:30 pm

It looks like they were indeed the only two that wound up having to donate some money to charity.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Fleeboy » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:28 pm

dhkendall wrote:
Jeff-thecdboy wrote:The money limits that J! had (before the dollar values were doubled in 2001) were as follows:

1984-90: $75,000
1990-97: $100,000
1997-01: $200,000
Source?
The $200,000 cap was in place during Season 17 (2000-01). It was in the players' contracts. The cap was briefly discussed in the green room, as I recall, but with the 5-game limit in place (and the doubling of clue values still a season away), no one was going to threaten topping the $200K mark.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by kprather895 » Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:55 pm

Volante wrote: My first thought was Michael Larson. His Press Your Luck! run came just months before the current J! incarnation debuted, too.
At the time, IIRC, CBS had a $25,000 "soft cap" and no hard cap. This meant that you could win all you wanted, but you retired once you hit $25,000. Shortly after Larson's appearance, CBS's rule was changed to a $50,000 "soft cap" and a $75,000 "hard cap", so you retired at $50,000, and anything over $75,000 went to charity.

This was discussed on The $25,000 Pyramid as well because it came close to happening once or twice.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:13 pm

Jeff-thecdboy wrote:It looks like they were indeed the only two that wound up having to donate some money to charity.
I thought they were the only ones, at least the only ones in the archive. It is nice some needy folks were helped, but it kind of sucked for them. Especially for Frank, who lost a quarter of what he won

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by kprather895 » Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:45 am

Bamaman wrote:
Jeff-thecdboy wrote:It looks like they were indeed the only two that wound up having to donate some money to charity.
I thought they were the only ones, at least the only ones in the archive. It is nice some needy folks were helped, but it kind of sucked for them. Especially for Frank, who lost a quarter of what he won
Based on the interviews he has given, I don't think Frank sees it that way. More like he won $75,000 (plus the gobs of money he's won since then), and he had the privilege of giving $27,000+ of Jeopardy's money to a charity of his choice.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:48 am

I'm sure he was glad his favorite charity benefited, but nothing was stopping him from donating $27,000 if they had let him keep all of his money. Yes, he knew the rules when he signed up, but it is unfortunate he was limited as to what he could keep.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by SweepingDeveloper » Sat Oct 31, 2015 10:36 am

If I remember right, Frank told a story about the $27K donation to Gift of Love Hospice in NY. He was at dinner somewhere, and the waitress recognized him from Jeopardy. The waitress told Frank that the hospice was trying to figure out how to raise money to have their building get up to fire code. Then the check arrived.

It indeed was a "twilight zone" moment when someone "won too much money on a game show".

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by MDaunt » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:18 pm

I'm pretty sure there was no cap in 1995, when I was on. There's nothing in my contract.

PS. I don't recall Jerome Vered having to donate any of his winnings.

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by seaborgium » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:44 pm

DCrawshawJr wrote:If I remember right, Frank told a story about the $27K donation to Gift of Love Hospice in NY. He was at dinner somewhere, and the waitress recognized him from Jeopardy. The waitress told Frank that the hospice was trying to figure out how to raise money to have their building get up to fire code. Then the check arrived.

It indeed was a "twilight zone" moment when someone "won too much money on a game show".
Quote from his contestant update during the 25th season: "So I called them up to tell them, and I had this very 'Twilight Zone' conversation, trying to explain I've won too much money on a game show, they were going to be getting $27,000. Several weeks later, I was in a restaurant, and a waitress came up to me and said, 'You don't know me, but I'm a volunteer at Gift of Love Hospice; I want to tell you what happened.' Apparently they had to do something to bring the place up to fire code, I forget exactly what it was, the sprinkler system or something like that. It was going to cost $27,000, but they had no idea how they were going to do it. And the day that they had it done, my check arrived. So things work out in the most bizarre way imaginable."

Hooray for archive.org and the way the J! site was coded at the time! All the contestant update videos are archived, and all you need is a program that can play FLV files (VLC Media Player works for me).

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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by georgespelvin » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:50 am

Bamaman wrote:
Jeff-thecdboy wrote:It looks like they were indeed the only two that wound up having to donate some money to charity.
I thought they were the only ones, at least the only ones in the archive. It is nice some needy folks were helped, but it kind of sucked for them. Especially for Frank, who lost a quarter of what he won
Rex Kramer might be the best person to answer this because he used to be a practicing tax attorney, but was Frank allowed to take the $27,000 as a tax deduction for a charitable contribution? It might seem to be a no-brainer at first glance, but if Frank never had a chance by pre-existing rule to actually have the money, the IRS might have been able to argue that the money was Jeopardy's and that the charitable contribution was from Jeopardy, albeit instigated based on Frank's performance (somewhat analogous e.g., a person cannot deduct the amount of a match that another organization gives his charitable contribution as the match money never belonged to that person).

Edited to add: Another take on this question is whether Frank was required to report the $27,000 above the winnings limit as income because he never had a chance to get it. Obviously, if he counted it properly as income he could take the tax deduction.
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Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:45 am

Seems like it would be a wash either way. If he claims the extra money as income and takes the deduction, his taxable income is $75,000 plus whatever he made as a policeman. If he doesn't claim the $27,000 (which would disqualify him from the deduction), his income from the show is still $75,000.

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