Since 2003*, nearly 3,400 students have gone brain-to-brain on News 5’s Academic Challenge. “I was never smart enough to be on a trivia show,” says second-year host Hakem Dermish. To celebrate the show’s 50th season, which kicks off Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., we decided to put that to the test by quizzing the former SportsCenter anchor on the show’s history.CM: Who was president when the show first aired?
HD: It started in 1964. Who was the president in 1964? Oh, LBJ!
CM: Correct. Lyndon B. Johnson was the president when the show began.
CM: What inspired the show?
HD: I believe it was a spinoff of It’s Academic in Washington, D.C., which was hosted by Mac McGarry. I think that’s how it got inspired. I think. That’s my answer.
CM: Mostly correct. The show is a spinoff of a similar show called It’s Academic, but it aired in Cincinnati.
CM: How many Emmy Awards has the show won?
HD: Oh, that’s a good one. We’ve had 50 seasons, so I’m going to say 39 Emmys.
CM: Incorrect. It has won 12 Emmys.
CM: Which school has the highest score on record?
HD: That’s a really tough question. I feel like that’s in the high 700s or the low 800s. I’m going to say St. Mary’s.
CM: Incorrect. Olmsted Falls High School had the highest score with 840 points.
CM: Which school has won the most since 2003?
HD: Olmsted Falls.
CM: Incorrect. Solon has the most wins.
HD: Solon! Yes, now I remember. How many have they won? Five?
CM: Three seasons.
HD: Three, OK. They said there would be no math.
*The show didn’t keep records until 2003.