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It's part reality series, part game show, as each week seven players take on the challenges and pressures of each other and of Studio 7's hard-as-nails format, en route to finding the answer to the question, "When it comes to money, who can you really trust?"

Recaps by Travis Eberle, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host:
Pat Kiernan
Assistant:
Jen Kelly

Creator:
Michael Davies
EP: Michael Davies
Packager: Pressure Productions, Diplomatic Inc.
Airs: Thursdays at 9:00pm ET on the WB


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Episode 7 - September 2

After seven matches (including one that will more than likely never see the light of day), we have our final seven winners of $77,000. In 60 minutes, one of them will be richer by $777,000. Here are the final seven, and how they got here.

Week One: Amadou Doumbia, 18, New York City. Jesse Lai fell apart in his shootout to seven, giving Amadou the money.
Week Two: Craig Phillips, 22, Los Angeles. Again, another fallout from a challenger that just couldn't match his time.
Week Three: George Jarroush, 21, Butler, NJ. His match came down to a photo finish, as George narrowly defeated his opponent to earn a spot in tonight's grand final.
Week Four: Sheila Shaigany; 21; Bethesda, MD. Having the benefit of Pat's lightning-fast reading skills is what got Sheila to tonight's show.
Week Five: JC Cary; 22; Washington, DC. Another photo finish, another ticket to the grown-ups' table.
Week Six: Nicole Cutrufello; 22; Roselle Park, NJ. Last week, her opponent set the bar at :57. She set the bar higher at :42.
Week Seven: Francesca; 18; Boca Raton, FL. Her match was original scheduled for this week, but lack of public interest forced early cancellation before her match went to air. What we do know of her: she got her first question wrong.

A note to my fair readers, if the question was answered correctly, the pertinent information is underlined. If answered incorrectly, you'll see both the wrong answer, and the correct one.

ROUND ONE: The Last 4 1/2 Years

2, George: In June 2001, the first federal execution in 38 years took place when Timothy McVeigh was put to death for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

3, Francesca: In 2001, former child star Rick Schroder was replaced by former child star Mark-Paul Gosselaar on "NYPD Blue".

5, Nicole: In 2000, MasterCard tried to sue Ralph Nader for parodying its "Priceless" ads in commercials in his presidential campaign. It's called fair use.

4, Amadou: In 2002, Porsche introduced its first sport utility vehicle, the Cayenne.

1, Sheila: In 2000, 71 years of rules by the Institutional Revolutionary Party ended when Vicente Fox was elected president of what country? Sheila's answer: Portugal. Correct: Mexico.

6, JC: In March 2002, Paula Jones, who had previously accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment, fought Tonya Harding in a televised boxing match

7, Craig: A tragic 2002 shooting took the life of Jam Master Jay, the DJ of Run-DMC.

George: In May 2003, what man was named the presidential envoy to Iraq? No clue, so he's going to ask his drinking buddy JC for help. "George, you're deadly. I'm going to give you a hint. Around the office, we call him by his initials, LPB. And he JUST left." Don't ask for more, that's all he's giving you. So he goes to plan B, ask Pat if he accepts initials. One way ticket to the Block, my friend. Tell Sheila that the Newsnetters say "what up?" George's wrong answer: Brown. Correct answer: L. Paul Bremer.

Time to vote. Is it the bigger threat (George) or the weaker player (Sheila)?

JC: SHEILA
Nicole: GEORGE
Amadou: GEORGE
Craig: GEORGE

So the only one who made it to the end of his Memorization Challenge has indeed made it to the end. George leaves with $77,000.

And then there were six.

ROUND TWO: The Last Eight Months.

Single elimination. Nice of them to tell us now.

Craig: On May 25, what 87-year-old news legend co-hosted the MTV special Choose or Lose: Work It with Gideon Yago? He tosses his ring into the pool, asking Francesca for some help. She comes up with Tom Brokaw, saying she doesn't know (and initially thinking about Peter Jennings. Peter Jennings?!). He goes for it... and he's going. It was "Walter Cronkite". And that's the way it is, as Craig lasts all but two rounds.

ROUND THREE: The Last 30 Days.

Nicole: On the July 18 ESPY awards, actor Tom Cruise presented a tribute to what former NFL star turned soldier who was killed in April in Afghanistan? Blanking out on her notes, she rings up JC, who delivers the right answer, Pat Tillman.

Sheila: On July 27, the keynote address on the second night of the Democratic National Convention was given by Barack Obama.

Francesca: July 31, marked the 50th anniversary of the first successful ascent to the top of what mountain, the second-tallest in the world? Francesca tries asking Nicole for help. Nicole has about as much of an idea as Francesca does, going to Kilimanjaro. Wrong. Correct: K2. The Block is calling...

JC: On July 16, it was reported that, after their merger is complete, BMG and what other music company plan to cut about 2000 jobs from their workforce? JC hopes Nicole remembers their deal from earlier. After a fakeout (devious?), she delivers Sony.

Amadou: On July 18, mud slides engulfed at least three vehicles and temporarily closed the eastern entrance of what popular national park? Amadou still has the ring... and he'll use it on Francesca, who says either Yosemite or Yellowstone. He goes with Yellowstone... and he's still in it.

Nicole: A Senate report published July 15 accused Riggs Bank of illegally helping to hide millions of dollars for which former Chilean dictator? Nicole knows no dictators. She knows no Chileans. She's going to the Block. Correct: Augusto Pinochet. Will that come back to hurt her?

Amadou: NICOLE
JC: FRANCESCA
Sheila (crying... then not): FRANCESCA

Oh, Francesca, we hardly knew ye.

ROUND FOUR: The Last Specialized Subject. Yale University's Secret Society, the Skull & Bones.

JC is the one who'll foul this one up. His question: At Skull & Bones meetings, there is an activity in which members are assessed fines for misbehavior like forgetting the lyrics to their traditional songs or sing Bones nicknames in public. What is this activity called? JC's answer: The Stating of Excuses. Correct answer: The Hearing of Excuses.

ROUND FIVE: The Last Memorization Assignment. The 100 Best-selling Children's Paperback books as of 2001. Title, author(s), date published. 300 elements. Man alive.

(C-Note: Chances are if you say "Stan & Jan Berenstain", you'll be right, but this being a championship show...)

Nicole: 74/300. "1976" instead of "1978".
Amadou: 95/300. "1977" instead of "1984"
Sheila: 226/300 (Wow!). "Beverly Clearly" instead of "Beverly Cleary".

Sheila shames all she surveys as Nicole heads out. Now it's Sheila versus Amadou with $777K on the line in...

ROUND SIX: The Last Seven Days.

Both Sheila and Amadou agree that in the best versus the best, it'll all come down to luck of the questions. Sheila goes first, calling the final "a pretty hellish experience."

Sheila's road to seven runs through Porter Goss, Rick James, Muqtada Al-Sadr, a cave in Croatia, "The Wall", Mike Wallace, and a cloned cat in 1:07.07.

Amadou is up next. For $777,000, here is your first question... GO! Amadou gets questions right on Porter Goss, Rick James, Greenpeace, a cave in Croatia, Mike Wallace...

(bell rings) "Sheila, you're the winner."

Bet she's glad she made it to the final now. Sheila Shaigany, the first - and only - champion of "Studio 7", leaves with $854,000, as well as her boyfriend in tow. The rest of the players think that her victory reaffirms that there is order in the world.

And that's it. The show that looked like it could've been for the most part, wasn't. And it's a shame too. I mean, it's not great, but it's not terrible. Oh well. Such is life in the world of the primetime game show. Big thanks to Travis for covering this. For Travis and the entire GSNN team, I'm Chico Alexander, saying, as always... "Thank you for your participation."

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