Originally created 12/30/04

People in the News

LOS ANGELES - If winning more than $2.5 million wasn't enough, "Jeopardy!" whiz Ken Jennings will have a shot at winning an additional $2 million - but the competition will be tougher this time around.

Producers of the game show announced Tuesday a "Super Tournament," which will pit Jennings in a final match against two survivors of a competition between nearly 150 past five-time winners.

Host Alex Trebek called the tournament the "quest for Ken."

"Ever since Ken started his amazing run, people have been speculating on how some of the past 'Jeopardy!' players would do against him," Trebek said in a statement. "We're answering that question."

Jennings, too, was anxious about the challenge.

"I can't wait to see who I'll be up against in the finals," he said.

Jennings earned $2,520,700 after a 74-game winning streak. He was beaten by California real estate agent Nancy Zerg.

The matches will begin airing in February or March, and the finals will air in May, said "Jeopardy!" publicist Jeff Ritter.

The third-place winner will receive $250,000 and the second-place winner, $500,000.


BUDAPEST, Hungary - "Fateless," the film adaptation of 2002 Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz's novel of a young boy's experience of the Holocaust, will premiere at the Budapest Film Festival in early February.

"Fateless" will be shown out of competition and likely as the festival's finale feature, Krisztina Hermann, executive secretary of the Hungarian Association of Film Artists, said Tuesday.

The 36th edition of the festival will be held Feb. 1-8.

"Fateless" will begin playing in Hungarian movie theaters shortly after the festival, as well as in Italy, where distribution rights already have been secured, said publicist Zsolt Greczy.

The film was directed by Lajos Koltai, who was the cinematographer for Istvan Szabo's "Mephisto," winner of the 1982 Oscar for best foreign language film.

Kertesz's book tells the story of a boy who is deported from his native Budapest to Auschwitz, Poland, and other Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Kertesz himself was deported as a 14-year-old to Auschwitz.

The script was written by Kertesz.

"Fateless," shot in Hungarian, had a budget of some $15 million, a very high figure for a Hungarian film.


LAS VEGAS - John Wayne Bobbitt has been acquitted of charges that he battered family members after the discovery of a sex toy in his bedroom.

In finding Bobbitt innocent of domestic violence, a Las Vegas judge ruled Monday that Bobbitt's 14-year-old stepson was to blame for the August fight.

Bobbitt gained fame in 1993 when his first wife, Lorena, sexually mutilated him.

Monday's trial focused on a scuffle involving Bobbitt's stepson and the boy's mother, Joanna Ferrell, who is Bobbitt's wife of three years. Bobbitt, 37, had faced four misdemeanor battery counts.

Witnesses testified the teen became enraged after finding the sex toy. He began throwing things around the living room until Bobbitt confronted him.

When the boy shoved him, Bobbitt pushed him to the ground and restrained him, witnesses for both the prosecution and defense testified. Accounts varied whether Bobbitt ever punched the boy.

After the acquittal, Municipal Court Judge Pro-Tem Gary Lang reprimanded Bobbitt for failing to attend court-ordered anger management classes after a 2003 domestic violence conviction, and said Bobbitt would suffer serious repercussions if he failed to show up for his remaining 23 weeks of classes.

Ferrell filed for divorce the day after the August incident, but she and Bobbitt reconciled. Her son now lives with his father in New Mexico.

Outside the courtroom, Bobbitt said he was thrilled with his acquittal.

"I've never been so happy with the judicial system," Bobbitt said.


NEW YORK - "Sesame Street" characters have gone around the globe and into space, and soon they'll be exploring the human body.

Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization, is creating a series of museum learning experiences and "Sesame Street Presents: The Body" is first up. It will premiere at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix in May and run through November. It will then travel to cities around the country through 2010.

"An interactive exploration of the human body is the perfect topic for our youngest visitors, and that, in combination with Sesame Workshop's expert educational content and their large cast of lovable characters, creates a quality experience that we're proud to offer to our community," said Chevy Humphrey, executive vice president of the center.

The exhibit will emphasize scientific investigation and developmental- and curriculum-based learning goals for children ages 2 to 8.


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NEW YORK - American soprano Christine Brewer will sing in a New Year's Eve performance of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" with the New York Philharmonic, led by music director emeritus Kurt Masur.

Brewer will replace Adrianne Pieczonka, who has withdrawn to allow for doctor-prescribed vocal rest to recover from a previous illness, the orchestra announced Tuesday. The other soloists remain unchanged.

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