Academic Challenge History

Can you name two major television events from 1964?  Here’s a hint, one involved the television debut of a famous musical group... and the other?

1964 marked the beginnings of Academic Challenge on NewsChannel 5. Originally called It’s Academic and hosted by Don Cameron, the program underwent a name change in 1975, when Don Webster was named as host. After a 35 consecutive year run and a brief hiatus, Academic Challenge returned to the WEWS airwaves in 2003 with host Adam Shapiro. Danita Harris hosted the 2006 season, and in 2007, Jason Nicholas became the host of Academic Challenge.

Through those many changes, one thing has remained constant. Each week, students representing schools from all around northern Ohio use their brains to battle toward the season championship. Now, as before, three teams compete for points by answering questions covering such topics as math, science, history and current events. At the end of each program, the points are totaled and at seasons’ end, the three highest scoring teams return for the Championship match.

Westfield Insurance has been the proud sponsor of Academic Challenge since its return in 2003. Each season Westfield Insurance awards over $20,000 in grant money to the top ten scoring teams. This money must be specifically used by the winning schools for the benefit of and to assist with, the educational needs of all students.

Academic Challenge is one of the longest-running locally-produced shows in television history.  And while the students are the stars of each show, the mission of Academic Challenge is to shine the spotlight on academic excellence and the importance of education in all of our communities.

So relax and sit back each week and try to match wits with some of the brightest students from our area.  And remember, proudly supporting each student that you see on camera, are a whole bunch of people shining just as brightly.

Oh, and that other major television event from 1964 -- that would be the American debut of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. You know, The Beatles, the group that Paul McCartney was in before Wings.