Paul Bailey (TCONA)
In 2011, Bailey founded TCONA from the trivia components of the former Game Show Congress. The event, for the first time, brought together trivia and quizzing people, including many game show celebrities, creating an enduring community. In addition, he was one of the founders of the International Quizzing Association, and for many years represented the US on its board. He has also been instrumental in the Colorado trivia scene and created the Toutant Intellectual Competition Fund.
Siddhartha Basu (Indian quizzing)
Widely regarded as the "father of Indian television quizzing," Basu hosted Mastermind India and University Challenge, among many others. However, he is best known as the producer-director of Kaun Banega Crorepati, the licensed Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which was hosted by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan. The show was as much a sensation in India as it was in the US and UK, even inspiring the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.
Brandon Blackwell (The Chase)
When the US edition of The Chase needed to refresh its lineup of Chasers, it found the Lightning Bolt, the winner of an international speed quizzing championship. Blackwell finished second in the Under-30 World Quizzing Championship in 2020. He won nearly $400,000 on quiz shows while still a teenager, including appearances on Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, then won University Challenge in the UK, playing for a dominant team and setting an all-time scoring record
Sharon Burns and Tom Porter (UK pub quizzing)
The pub quiz was born in England in the mid-70s, when Burns and Porter started promoting the concept as a way to bring in crowds on off nights. The idea took off and soon 10,000 people were playing every week, many of whom later appeared on quiz shows. Structured like a sports league, bar teams would play each other in home and away games. They even spun off three books before selling their company (also called Burns and Porter) to Prism Leisure Corporation in 1988.
India Cooper (Jeopardy)
A hero and role model for many, Cooper was a five-time champion in 1991 and became a Tournament of Champions semi-finalist that year. She was also a semi-finalist in the 2002 Million Dollar Masters tournament and competed in both the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions and the 2014 Battle of the Decades. She volunteered extensively within the trivia community, especially with NAQT, and warm-heartedly supported many content providers.
John Dicker and Joel Peach (Geeks Who Drink
In around 2005, NYC expat Dicker was dissatisfied with the state of pub trivia in Colorado and started his own. Within a year he and Peach had ten venues in the state. At its height, Geeks Who
Drink had more than a thousand venues, dominating the US pub trivia scene like McDonald's dominates burgers. In addition, its annual event, Geek Bowl, has attracted more than 200 teams for an arena-sized pub trivia night. It even inspired a briefly run TV series
Phil Tarpeh Dixon (African quizzing)
Dixon founded the Liberia Institute for Knowledge and Excellence, which is the International Quizzing Association’s first African member. Dixon has also regularly been the highest scoring African in the IQA’s World Quizzing Championship. He has worked tirelessly to expand the quizzing community in Africa, even canoeing down jungle rivers to do so. He has run events for more than 5000 people and has trained more than 100 people in his Introductory and Intermediate Courses in Quizzing Management.
Valentín Ferrero, Erundino Alonso, Manuel Zapata, Alberto Sanfrutos (Boom)
Los Lobos set a world record with a staggering run of more than 500 appearances, lasting more than two years on the Spanish quiz show ¡Boom! During that time, they set another record when they won €6 million. (An original member of the team, José Pinto, withdrew for family reasons and was replaced by Sanfrutos midway through their run. Sanfrutos had been on Sabar y Ganar 62 times, the very show on which the founding Wolves met each other.)
Khalil Ghannam (O'Brien's)
Ghannam founded the O’Brien’s Pub Quiz in Santa Monica, California, in 1998. He created the format and the quiz is still run the same way. He found the Fez; teams drop answers slips into the Fez and get to wear it in a group photo should they win. Today, O'Brien’s is the collaborative effort of dozens of people and boasts a galaxy of Jeopardy champions and other trivia enthusiasts every Wednesday. What Ghannam founded remains a welcoming, competitive, inclusive trivia community that is his lasting legacy.
Pat Gibson (UK quizzing)
Few UK quizzers can challenge Kevin Ashman. Gibson is one of them, regularly appearing at #1 in the IQA's ranking of the world's quizzers, winning its global championship repeatedly and anchoring England's team in IQA events. The Irish-born Egghead panellist has won the top prize on the original Who Wants to be a Millionaire. And he's won Brain of Britain. He has not only been a Mastermind champion, but was crowned the Mastermind Champion of Champions
Tom Gottlieb (aka Cookie Masterson) (You Don't Know Jack)
In the 1990s, You Don't Know Jack was synonymous with CD-ROM trivia games and for most of those games the star was Cookie, voiced by Gottlieb. Unlike just about everything else in the trivia world at the time, the game was funny, irreverent and aimed at a (then) young Gen X audience. It has since expanded to other formats, notably the Jackbox Party Pack, and Gottlieb was also the announcer for the short-lived You Don't Know Jack TV show in 2001.
Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky (founders of "trivia")
Goodgold coined the idea of "trivia" in the modern sense in a Columbia Daily Spectator column in 1965, warning later against attempts "to confuse the flower of trivia with the weed of minutiae." At the time, boomer college students would trade nostalgic questions about pop culture. This inspired him and Carlinsky to launch the first radio trivia contest, also at Columbia.
They then wrote two trivia books, including a New York Times bestseller. And Goodgold's band, Sha-Na-Na, played at Woodstock.
Victoria Groce (The Chase, OQL)
When the US edition of The Chase needed to refresh its lineup of Chasers, it went looking for America’s best quizzers. And they found her. In 2020, Groce was ranked third in the world, courtesy of the World Quizzing Championship. When she was cast, she’d made the top 10 three years running in the Learning League championship, won both editions of the Online Quizzing League’s International Culture Challenge, won three seasons of Mimir’s Well and her OQL-USA team had won three of four seasons.
Caleb Liu and Movin Miranda (Asian quizzing)
Liu and Miranda co-founded the Asia-Pacific Quiz Championship and subsequently the Asian Quiz League (the latter with Nicholas Pang), to create quizzes with more of an Asian flavour. Liu was also the youngest person on Singapore's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and appeared on University Challenge and Mastermind in the UK. Miranda is a prolific quiz writer. He was also a Mastermind semi-finalist and a finalist on Quiz Time, an Indian college quiz show.
Matt Ramme, Ali Aydar, Derek Pharr and Mark Adams (Sporcle)
In 2007, Ramme founded the online quiz site Sporcle as a way for him to get better at Jeopardy and crosswords. Pharr and Aydar joined early on to help build the online quiz community, which today has had some four billion games played. In 2012, Adams joined forces with Sporcle, bringing his pub trivia business to the table as Sporcle Live. And in 2019, Sporcle announced TriviaCon, a weekend convention for trivia and quizzing fans, which launched as SporcleCon in Washington DC in 2022.
Anne Robinson and Jane Lynch (The Weakest Link)
Originally a journalist, Robinson is best known for hosting The Weakest Link on BBC for 12 years, and for a year on NBC. She was famous for her grim demeanour and caustic dismissals of eliminated contestants. In 2021, she took over Countdown. In 2020, the show returned to the US, with a new version hosted by Jane Lynch, who got to torment one contestant in particular who failed to answer correctly a question for which Lynch herself was the answer.
Scott Rogowski (HQ)
Quiz Daddy, Quiz Khalifa, Host Malone, the Trap Trebek. Called HQ's "secret weapon" by TechCrunch, Rogowski was the face of the HQ trivia app. As a stand-up comedian who could improvise on his feet, he had an ability to vamp over the site's technical difficulties in its early days, which became his effusive trademark. At times, more than a million people were playing HQ and its success produced a wave of imitators, none of which lasted. HQ itself came undone after Rogowski parted ways with it.
Amy Schneider (Jeopardy)
Jeopardy’s 2021-22 season was notably for its mega-champs, but none shone like Schneider. Only Ken Jennings has won more consecutive games than she has. She is now the show’s fifth biggest cash winner and the first woman to win more than $1 million on Jeopardy. Moreover, her
streak began by defeating a five-game champion. In the process, she attracted national media attention and became a role model for transgender people everywhere, becoming the first such participant in the Tournament of Champions.
Paul Sinha (UK quizzing)
Billed as "the world's only gay Anglo-Bengali GP turned stand-up comedian," Sinha became the "Smiling Assassin" on The Chase in 2011. In 2019 he became the British Quizzing Champion, despite a recent Parkinson’s diagnosis, and in 2021, his husband finished third in an international online event, making them arguably the best-known same-sex married couple in quizzing. In addition, he has presented a number of radio programs, including the four-part series Paul Sinha's General Knowledge.
Sandy Stewart (Reach for the Top)
In 1966, Stewart became the producer of Reach for the Top, a Canadian version of quiz bowl, which would air on CBC until 1985. After the show was cancelled, Stewart continued to produce, with his partner, a mostly non-televised version of the game called Schoolreach until he retired in 1995. The show was an early hosting gig for Alex Trebek and offered countless Canadian teens a chance to shine, including future prime ministers Kim Campbell and Stephen Harper
Gail Trimble (University Challenge)
Possibly the greatest player University Challenge has ever had, Trimble was called the Human Google as captain of the 2009 Corpus Christi team, answering two-thirds of all her team’s questions. In the quarter finals, she amassed a record 15 starters-for-10, defeating Exeter University 350 to 15 in one of the most lop-sided UC matches ever. The only thing that could stop her was a technicality: the team was disqualified because one of its members had already left the college while the series was being filmed.
Ed Zotti, Mike Lenehan and Dave Kehr (aka Cecil Adams) (The Straight Dope)
From 1973 to 2018, people asked Cecil Adams about everything from urban legends to weird sex practices. The Chicago Reader syndicated the column to dozens of newspapers, largely in the alternative press, and the columns provided material for five books, as well as a briefly run series on A&E. "The World's Smartest Human" is actually a team of writers, with Lenehan, Kehr and Zotti being among its editors, with Zotti having by far the longest tenure, claiming to be Adams’ "editor and confidant."