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Trivia pursuits

An app-based game show that might be the future of TV, a Supreme Court case on sports gambling, and more

Trivia pursuits


A New York moment:

Live from New York … it’s HQ Trivia ! Walk around New York at 9 p.m., and you’ll probably see groups of friends stopping what they’re doing for a few minutes to look at their phones for this new live trivia show. I know, because I’ve been in that group of friends: Most people in my church small group play it. The show, which you watch on your iPhone—and which awards prize money if you answer all 12 questions correctly—is going gangbusters. The numbers of players each night keeps rising exponentially.

On Sunday, for example, 240,000 people tuned in to play. Only 44 made it through all 12 questions, splitting the $8,000 cash prize—money you can deposit into your PayPal account. So far HQ Trivia doesn’t seem to have a revenue stream—but I imagine its creators will figure something out with the big audience they’ve found.

People are calling the show the future of TV, and watching my family members immediately fall under its spell at Thanksgiving suggests to me there might be something to that. Host Scott Rogowsky is a big part of the appeal, with his quips between questions, as is the free money you can win. The show is short (each question lasts only 10 seconds), it’s engrossing, and it’s something you can do with your friends and family. At Thanksgiving we had several different phones going simultaneously and shouted advice across the room during the 10-second countdowns. I’ve never won, but I have one friend who has (Hi, Barclay!).

Worth your time:

The bizarre effort from Project Veritas to discredit The Washington Post, by sending in an “operative” posing as a sexual abuse victim of Roy Moore, instead revealed the Post ’s rigorous fact-checking process with sexual abuse allegations.

This week I learned: 

Who Meghan Markle is.

David Livingston/Getty Images

Meghan Markle (David Livingston/Getty Images)

A court case you might not know about: 

Coming up next week at the Supreme Court is the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which I will be covering in Washington, D.C. Less noticed but also important is a sports gambling case from New Jersey, Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (consolidated with New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association v. National Collegiate Athletic Association). The case asks specifically whether New Jersey can allow sports betting despite a federal prohibition on states legalizing the practice (some states that allow sports betting were grandfathered in).

But more broadly New Jersey is challenging the 1992 federal ban as a violation of state rights, outlined in the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Here New Jersey argues that the 1992 law could be wielded for other purposes, such as to forbid states from relaxing any existing restrictions on gun rights.

The justices will hear arguments in that case Dec. 4, the day before the Masterpiece case.

Culture I am consuming:

Continuing the Billy Wilder theme, I watched Sabrina (1954) with my family over Thanksgiving. My, my, the 30-year age difference between Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn!

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Hepburn and Bogart (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Also, my Roman J. Israel, Esq. review that I foreshadowed in a previous Metro Minute, with interviews with Denzel Washington and writer/director Dan Gilroy, is up. 

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