Sure, they were called Jeopardy's "Power Players," but after witnessing 15 of the country's "most influential media personalities" try their hand at the game show Saturday when it was filming in D.C., we left wondering if some of them were smarter than a fifth grader.
First, nobody seemed to be able to identify a rhombus. "You've got to be kidding me," CNN's Anderson Cooper groaned when nobody from his practice round could identify the shape. (Yeas & Nays was allowed to report on the practices, but promised to keep our lips sealed about the real games).
Other contestants were tripped up by overthinking the clues. "What is an antihistamine?" Dr. Mehmet Oz confidently answered when asked to identify the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine. The correct answer? NyQuil.
Others just got positively stumped. The final Jeopardy question: "discovered in 1930, in 2006 this was downgraded to a 'dwarf,'" produced some interesting responses. "What is a midget?" answered "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. Later in the day "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace also got it wrong, putting down "what is Tom Thumb?" The correct answer -- Pluto. Duh.
Cooper, who was playing against New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman and NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, was just hoping to improve upon his last appearance on the show. "My second time I got cocky and I was against Cheech Marin and I thought, that guy has no synapses left," Cooper recalled. "It turns out he is incredibly sharp and really smart and he destroyed me."
The audience also got to hear a lot from host Alex Trebek, who is a bit of an oversharer. When one little girl asked him about his pets he ended up telling a story about how one of his dogs got eaten by a coyote. He also revealed that he owned more than 100 suits, was mad that Filene's Basement had closed, joked about his underwear preference ("thong") and what happened to his mustache ("it's in a drawer in a dresser in Los Angeles").
Filmed at DAR Constitution Hall, other contestants included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lewis Black, David Faber, Robert Gibbs, Katty Kay, Lizzie O'Leary, Clarence Page, Dana Perino and Chuck Todd, with all earnings being given to charity. "Power Players" week will air May 14-18.