Ken Basin, a entertainment lawyer and Harvard Law graduate from Los Angeles, California, was the last contestant on the 10th Anniversary Special of the U.S. version of the show on August 23, 2009. He achieved the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first person in the U.S. to miss the $1,000,000 question, thus losing $475,000 and walking away with a mere $25,000.

In 2003, Basin was a contestant on Jeopardy's College Championship that year. He went to the semifinals only to be eliminated there and took home a consolation prize of $5,000.


Fastest Finger QuestionEdit

Fastest Finger Question
Put these U.S. states in order of their total population, starting with the smallest.
• A: Wyoming • B: Delaware
• C: Pennsylvania • D: North Carolina

From the 10 contestants, 4 got it right, but Ken (with a time of 3.71 seconds) was the fastest to correctly answer A-B-D-C, making it into the Hot Seat.

Ken's Run to the MillionEdit

$100 (1 of 15) - 15 seconds
Category: Selling It
In a straightforward 2008 ad campaign, Michelob used the slogan "Crafting a Better" what?
• A: Coffee • B: Soda
• C: Beer • D: Double chin

$200 (2 of 15) - 15 seconds
Category: In The Shower
Hair products known as "2-in-1s" are typically a combination of shampoo and what?
• A: Toothpaste • B: Conditioner
• C: Shaving cream • D: Deodorant

$300 (3 of 15) - 15 seconds
Category: It's Elemental
On the periodic table, what is the only element that is named after a U.S. state?
• A: Europium • B: Neptunium
• C: Californium • D: Einsteinium

$500 (4 of 15) - 15 seconds
Category: Award Shows
In 2009, what entertainment awards show announced that it was expanding its pool of "Best Picture" nominees from five films to ten?
• A: Tonys • B: Emmys
• C: Grammys • D: Oscars

$1,000 (5 of 15) - 15 seconds
Category: UPS
To maintain its vast fleet of delivery vehicles, each year UPS uses thousands of gallons of what color paint?
• A: Brown • B: Blue
• C: Red • D: Green

$2,000 (6 of 15) - 30 seconds
Category: Phrase Origins
Which of these expressions comes from golf and not baseball?
• A: Right off the bat • B: Par for the course
• C: Step up to the plate • D: Out of left field

$4,000 (7 of 15) - 30 seconds
Category: From the Swahili
What popular game's name is derived from a Swahili word meaning "to build"?
• A: Scrabble • B: Jenga
• C: Boggle • D: Dominoes

$8,000 (8 of 15) - 30 Seconds
Category: Grandmas
What 2009 big screen comedy features Betty White as a wacky grandmother?
• A: I Love You, Man • B: The Proposal
• C: Paul Blart: Mall Cop • D: The Hangover

$16,000 (9 of 15) - 30 Seconds
Category: A Talented Life
Reflecting on a career that brought him worldwide fame, Garry Kasparov penned a 2007 book titled "How Life Imitates" what?
• A: Cooking • B: Tennis
• C: Chess • D: Fashion

$25,000 (10 of 15) - 30 Seconds
Category: Spell It Out
Which of these historical names can be spelled out by writing three U.S. state abbreviations in a row?

$50,000 (11 of 15) - 45 Seconds
Category: He's a Keeper
Which member of the Obama Cabinet held the same job in George W. Bush's administration?
• A: Robert Gates • B: Ken Salazar
• C: Timothy Geithner • D: Steven Chu

$100,000 (12 of 15) - 45 Seconds
Category: Listen Carefully
In the 1984 movie "Gremlins," which of the following is not one of the three rules for taking care of the creature Mogwai?
'Double Dip' lifeline used
• A: Don't get him wet • B: Keep him out of bright light
• C: Never feed him after midnight • D: Don't let him sleep too much

$250,000 (13 of 15) - 45 Seconds
Category: In the Middle
If you want to take a vacation to the "Geographic Center of North America," you should pack up your car and drive to what U.S. state?
• A: North Dakota • B: Texas
• C: Colorado • D: Wyoming

$500,000 (14 of 15) - 45 Seconds
Category: Making Headlines
What film actress's death was reported on the front page of the debut issue of USA Today?
'Phone a Friend' and 'Ask the Expert' lifelines used
• A: Audrey Hepburn • B: Marlene Dietrich
• C: Grace Kelly • D: Greta Garbo
Ken was not sure, so he decided to call his friend Jerome, who was only 35% sure it was Kelly, but narrowed it down to A or C. Then, Ken decided to ask the expert Bill Nye, who, through the process of elimination, came up with Hepburn. Risking $225,000, he decided to go against Bill Nye and with his friend Jerome, and won $500,000

$1,000,000 (15 of 15) - 4 minutes, 39 Seconds
Category: Bottoms Up!
For ordering his favorite beverages on demand, LBJ had four buttons installed in the Oval Office labeled "coffee," "tea," "Coke" and what?
'Ask the Audience' lifeline used
• A: Fresca • B: V8
• C: Yoo-hoo • D: A&W
Ask the Audience Results: A: 15% • B: 12% • C: 40% • D: 33%

Ken had a hunch, but decided to use his last lifeline, Ask the Audience, with Yoo-hoo being the most voted answer (40%). Ken also thought it was Yoo-hoo, and after pondering for a minute if he would regret more losing $475,000 than not winning an additional $500,000, Ken decided to go with his hunch Yoo-hoo with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, his hunch turned out to be wrong, as the correct answer was A: Fresca


  • Ken became the first and only contestant to correctly answer the $500,000 question on the Clock Format (and the first one to do so since Lyn Payne in 2007).
  • He later became the first contestant to incorrectly answer the $1,000,000 question.
  • Ken lost the biggest amount of money ($475,000) in U.S. history, and the only U.S. contestant to lose $475,000. Under the old money tree, he would've been the first to lose $468,000 and leave with $32,000, so he lost an additional $7,000, due to Disney, the production company behind the U.S. version of Millionaire, reducing the monetary values for questions 10, 11, and 12.
    • Josina Reaves only lost $75,000 because she jumped her $250,000 and $500,000 questions, meaning she did not win those amounts.


  • Ken: In law school we would say that people who went to law school went there because they were risk-adverse and people who were risk loving went to business school. I went to law school. Maybe I should have gone to business school.

  • Ken: I'm going to ask a favor. I'm going to ask the audience to start cheering in advance and just stop abruptly if I get it wrong because C, final answer! Give me a million dollars!
  • Regis: No, it's not the final answer, you just lost a lot of money... It's Fresca! Fresca!


Preceded by
Jim Robinson
U.S. Contestant (10th Anniversary Special)
Ken Basin
Succeeded by