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Game shows join 1996 Olympic games

By
FREDERICK M. WINSHIP UPI Senior Editor

NEW YORK, Jan. 24 -- For the first time in Olympic history, the games will have a promotional tie-in with popular TV game shows when the Summer Olympics come to Atlanta in 1996. The King World-syndicated 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' were designated Tuesday the official game shows of the Atlanta Olympics by Atlanta Centennial Olympic Properties, a joint venture between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Atlanta Olympic Committee to promote interest in and raise funds for American participation in the games. 'Through the huge combined audiences of thse immensely popular shows, we will be able not only to increase the awareness and enjoyment of the Centennial Olympic Games but also create a unique way for those who may not have the opporunity to attend the games to be personally involved and help support the U.S. team, the games and the Olympic movement,' said William Porter Payne, president of the Atlanta Olympic Committee in making the announcement at a press conference. Payne said that the two shows will air a total of 44 Olympic-themed shows between April and July 1996. 'Jeopardy!,' which is hosted by Alex Trebek, will present an Olympic games tournament week featuring international contestants, and 'Wheel of Fortune,' hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, will feature remotes from Atlanta, and an Olympic Games Sweepstakes with Olympic- themed prizes. In addition, both shows will offer collectible Olympic merchandise available exclusively within episodes of the shows airing during the promotional period. All profits realized from the sale of merchandise will be donated to Olympic-related charities, Payne said.

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Michael King, president of King World Productions, said he felt that teaming the games up with the Centennial Olympics games was a 'perfect match.' King World distributes the games for their producer, Columbia TriStar Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. 'This exciting association with the '96 Olypic Games is unprecedented,' King said. 'It establishes another first in the history of television for 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Jeopardy!,' the most popular game shows on TV.'

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