$75,000 rule

This is where all of the games are discussed.

Moderators: alietr, trainman, econgator, dhkendall

User avatar
Euphonium
Watches Jeopardy! Way Too Much
Posts: 255
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:58 am
Location: Riverside, CA

$75,000 rule

Post by Euphonium »

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?
In any dispute between labor and management, the workers are always right.

User avatar
MarkBarrett
Watches Jeopardy! Way Too Much
Posts: 10682
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:37 am
Location: San Francisco

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by MarkBarrett »

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?

User avatar
Volante
Harbinger of the Doomed Lemur
Posts: 7086
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:42 pm
Contact:

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Volante »

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.

User avatar
trainman
Moderator Extraordinaire
Posts: 1207
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:27 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by trainman »

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.

User avatar
dhkendall
Pursuing the Dream
Posts: 8776
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:49 am
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Contact:

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by dhkendall »

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.)
"Jeopardy! is two parts luck and one part luck" - Me

"The way to win on Jeopardy is to be a rabidly curious, information-omnivorous person your entire life." - Ken Jennings

Follow my progress game by game since 2012

Jeff-thecdboy
Watches Jeopardy! Way Too Much
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:34 am

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Jeff-thecdboy »

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

User avatar
dhkendall
Pursuing the Dream
Posts: 8776
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:49 am
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Contact:

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by dhkendall »

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?
"Jeopardy! is two parts luck and one part luck" - Me

"The way to win on Jeopardy is to be a rabidly curious, information-omnivorous person your entire life." - Ken Jennings

Follow my progress game by game since 2012

Jeff-thecdboy
Watches Jeopardy! Way Too Much
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:34 am

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Jeff-thecdboy »

^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

Bamaman
Also Receiving Votes
Posts: 9737
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman »

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

Jeff-thecdboy
Watches Jeopardy! Way Too Much
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:34 am

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Jeff-thecdboy »

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

User avatar
Fleeboy
Watches Jeopardy! Way Too Much
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:57 am

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Fleeboy »

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.

kprather895
Loyal Jeopardista
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:32 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by kprather895 »

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.

Bamaman
Also Receiving Votes
Posts: 9737
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman »

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

kprather895
Loyal Jeopardista
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:32 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by kprather895 »

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.

Bamaman
Also Receiving Votes
Posts: 9737
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman »

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.

User avatar
SweepingDeveloper
Loyal Jeopardista
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:11 pm
Contact:

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by SweepingDeveloper »

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".

User avatar
MDaunt
Weighed in the balance and found wanting
Posts: 729
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:04 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by MDaunt »

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.

seaborgium
Undefeated in Reruns
Posts: 6806
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:31 am

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by seaborgium »

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).

User avatar
georgespelvin
The Charlie Brown of Jeopardy Auditions
Posts: 875
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:40 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by georgespelvin »

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.
I used to be AWSOP but wanted to be more theatrical.

Bamaman
Also Receiving Votes
Posts: 9737
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: $75,000 rule

Post by Bamaman »

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.

Post Reply