Nightly News   |  March 30, 2014

A: This Show Turns 50. Q: What Is “Jeopardy”?

The popular quiz show game first aired on March 30, 1964 and has had several changes during its tenure.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> holt: finally tonight, it was on this day 50 years ago that a game-show phenomenon was born right here at 30 rock . after all that time, " jeopardy !" still draws millions each night, trying to guess the question to the answer. here is nbc´s erica hill .

>> fleming: let´s play " jeopardy !"

>> hill: and that´s how it all began, back in march of 1964 , as art fleming introduced viewers to what would become the most popular quiz show of all time.

>> battaglio: there had not been any trivia quiz shows on since the 1950s because of the quiz-show scandal, but merv griffin brought it back with " jeopardy !"

>> hill: creator merv griffin credits his wife with the idea -- give the answer and have the contestant ask the question.

>> woman: what are cigars? >> fleming : cigars is right.

>> hill: art fleming hosted the original " jeopardy !" which aired on nbc and taped right here in this studio at rockefeller center .

>> cameron: that is the award they gave me for being grand champion .

>> hill: this retired navy technician, who first appeared on the show in 1965 , went on to become the all-time leading champion of the fleming era. what was it like, when you got here, to be a contestant on " jeopardy !"? was it nerve-racking?

>> cameron: you had a degree of nervousness. if you´re going to be on " jeopardy !" you have to be a little bit tense. you have to be a little bit nervous, because if you´re loose, you lose, and you´ll get beaten by the button.

>> hill: how much money did you walk away with?

>> cameron: $11,110.

>> hill: from fleming to trebek, the show has produced its share of headlines over the past 50 years. in 2000 , a record-store clerk from pennsylvania went on to win the most money in " jeopardy !" history.

>> rutter: about $3.4 million.

>> hill: the record for longest winning streak, 75 shows, goes to ken jennings , helped by a change in the rules.

>> jennings: up until 2003 , a champion could only win for five days. now it´s unlimited.

>> reporter: brad rutter admits there is a friendly rivalry between he and jennings, but neither was a match for ibm supercomputer watson.

>> watson: what is arabic? >> trebek: you are right.

>> rutter: jen and i looked at each other and said, "this must be what it´s like to play against us." [ laughs ]

>> hill: there´s no denying, this quiz show has earned its place in history.

>> cameron: [ vocalizes " jeopardy !" theme music ]

>> hill: burns cameron still watches every night.

>> cameron: absolutely. doesn´t everybody?

>> hill: erica hill , nbc news, new york.