February 24, 2000: There for the Taking

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Regis Philbin with John Carpenter, the first Who Wants to Be a Millionaire winner.) 

(This weekend we’re doing a One-Day-in-Your-Life-a-thon, with this post today, plus brand-new posts tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday. Yee haw.)

February 24, 2000, was a Thursday. The race for the Republican presidential nomination continues today. Senator John McCain, who won primaries in Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday, campaigns in Washington state, while Texas governor George W. Bush speaks in Los Angeles, blaming his loss in Michigan on “liberal Democrats” who voted in the open GOP primary “to hijack the primary to help [vice president] Al Gore.” Gore’s only announced opponent for the Democratic nomination is New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, who lost the New Hampshire primary to Gore by four points earlier this month; a January poll of the Democratic race showed Bradley trailing Jesse Jackson in presidential preference, but Jackson has decided not to enter the race. Today, President Clinton speaks to business leaders in Washington and Philadelphia before proceeding to New York City, where he speaks at two different dinners for members of the Democratic National Committee. In Waupaca County, Wisconsin, officials announce that spring weight limits on local roads will end on April 1. In Boone County, North Carolina, the county commission announces its support for capital improvement projects at the local hospital in an amount not to exceed $12 million. In Clark County, Nevada, revisions to the flood rate insurance map take effect today, by order of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Major league baseball teams are reporting to spring training, although the first games won’t be played until next Thursday. In the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers have the best record, 44-and-11. With only three weeks left in college basketball’s regular season, Stanford tops both the AP and Coaches polls.

On TV tonight, NBC wins the night with Friends, Jesse (starring Christina Applegate as a single mom, created by the producers of Friends), Frasier, Will and Grace, and ER, which is the single highest-rated show of the night. ABC presents Whose Line Is It Anyway, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and the newsmagazine show 20/20 Downtown. CBS trails with episodes of Diagnosis Murder, Chicago Hope, and 48 Hours. Fox airs the theatrical movie The Nutty Professor, a remake of the old Jerry Lewis film, starring Eddie Murphy.

Slipknot plays New York City and Fiona Apple plays Wallingford, Connecticut. Yes continues a European tour in Lisbon, with shows set for Madrid and Barcelona on Friday and Saturday. Country/bluegrass performer Ricky Skaggs plays Tacoma, Washington, and Weird Al Yankovic plays Seattle. A new Billboard Hot 100 will be out on Saturday; “I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden will move from #2 to #1, knocking “Thank God I Found You” by Mariah Carey featuring Joe and 98 Degrees to #2. Two crossovers from country music make giant leaps into the Top 10: “Amazed” by Lonestar is up to #3 from #18 and “Breathe” by Faith Hill is at #5 from #21 last week. “Smooth” by Santana and Rob Thomas, which spent 12 weeks at #1 from October to January, is still at #9. New songs in the Top 40 this week include Madonna’s cover of “American Pie” at #35.

Perspective From the Present: On this day, The Mrs. and I traveled from Iowa City back to Wisconsin for what was for me, a very busy weekend. The next morning, I interviewed for a corporate education job in Madison, and went from there straight to the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin to spend the rest of Friday and all day Saturday covering the state high-school wrestling tournament as a broadcaster. On Sunday, with a small group of family and friends, there was a celebration of my 40th birthday, which would be on Tuesday.

As I wrote in my journal on that Sunday evening, “I killed ‘em, laid ‘em in the aisles, left ‘em begging for more.” It was clear before my interview was even finished that I would be offered the job. Moving to Madison was quite literally the dream of a lifetime. But as time would reveal, I was not happy in corporate education. And maybe I knew all along that I wouldn’t be. From the same journal entry: “On a couple of occasions during the weekend, I stood in the Kohl Center and looked out at the Capitol dome decorating the Madison skyline. I said to myself, ‘It’s there for the taking,’ and then I wondered why I didn’t want it more.”

3 thoughts on “February 24, 2000: There for the Taking

  1. porky

    My son’s tae kwan do lesson was on the same night as “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” I recall turning down a block and through every picture window that household was watching that show. That kind of viewing is gone, but hey, it WAS 23 years ago….

  2. Wesley

    The reference to Boone County, North Carolina, should be Watauga County instead. Boone is Watauga’s county seat, a community in the mountains probably best known for being home to Appalachian State University (or ASU or just App, as some locals like to call it).

    That Hot 100 chart action, ugh. I Knew I Loved You and Thank God I Found You are forgettable and mostly already forgotten chart toppers. And the less said about Madonna’s American Pie remake the better, although I remember being astounded at the time when the music critic for USA Today gave it 4 stars out of 4. Smooth is better than all of them, but that’s not saying much, and I’d rather have had another older Santana hit like Oye Como Va stay at No. 1 for 12 weeks instead of this.

    And as for your situation at the time, jb, I had a similar experience in Atlanta thinking I had gotten the job and the next step in life that I wanted. Instead, it pretty much all went wrong. But you’ve got to live and learn if you’re going to grow, and I’m glad it ultimately led me to the great position I feel I”m at today. Hopefully you’re in a similar position.

  3. Tim M

    The photo at the top of your post drew me in immediately. That “Millionaire” thing, the first time around, was a phenomenon in our house, because it was the only television program that the four of us (me, mom, two high school kids) all watched together, in the same room. My wife and I still reminisce about this once in a while, and wonder what it was about that show that caused our otherwise aloof teen children to want to watch the show with their “old” parents.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.