Janet Gaynor was the first actress to win the Oscar, in 1929, for The seventh heaven. It was also the name with which, in June 2016, it won yesterday's highest prize in the history of television in Spain: it was 2.3 million euros, it was also in Boom! and it was won by the Rockcampers, a group of five friends who managed to hold 60 programs. Ten years ago in Spain did not deliver a prize of that magnitude: it had been in Pass word, in May of 2016, when the program was still on Antena 3 and was presented by Jaime Cantizano, and Eduardo Benito, a 38 year old commercial from Madrid, took the 2,190,000 euros accumulated in the rosco. Nothing pointed to that afternoon would be special, and in fact Benito let out a question because he did not know the answer (With the J: last name of the poet and Nobel of Spanish literature author of Platero and me). But suddenly, when he had completed the rest of the rosco, he remembered: Juan Ramón Jiménez.
These have been the Spanish contributions to the growing Olympus of millionaire prizes won in contests of knowledge from around the world, a ranking traditionally dominated by the country that invented these television formats, United States. There is the veteran Jeopardy! since 1964, one of the best-known television franchises in the Anglo-Saxon world that has distributed three of the 10 biggest prizes in recent years. His biggest winner, the computer scientist Ken Jennings, had put up with 74 questions without giving a single erroneous answer (or, rather, question: answers are given in the contest and the contestant must guess his question). He left there a millionaire and a celebrity with contracts in several publishers; the program took a long time to recover from the 22% drop in audience that supposed its exit.
The industrial complex of German television has given Schlan den Raab, another superpower of the contests and that compensates one of the great lame legs of the European sector: the fact that the United Kingdom does not offer great prizes in its contests. The great British regulator (the Independent Television Authority) established it at the dawn of the competitions, in the sixties, to avoid the ugly that the BBC gave away a lot of money to a single taxpayer. In return, he has created a culture of joke gifts, from a pen in Blankety Blank (1979-2016) to a stuffed animal The Generation Game (1971-1977).
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