WEWS NewsChannel 5 Announces New Academic Challenge Host

Thu, September 06, 2007 by Peter Noll

NewsChannel 5 proudly announces Meteorologist Jason Nicholas as the new host of the historic high school quiz show Academic Challenge.  The show’s new season is scheduled to kick-off on Saturday, December 8th at 7PM.

“I’m thrilled to become part of the Academic Challenge legacy,” said Jason.  “Working with hundreds of bright students from schools throughout northeast Ohio will be rewarding and fun,” continues Jason.  “Not only for me but for thousands of viewers ready for another season.”

An award-winning meteorologist, Jason joined the Power of 5 Weather Team in June 2006 and can be seen on the weekend evening newscasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.  Jason is a Cleveland native and grew up in nearby Medina.  He's a graduate of the prestigious E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and is a proud lifetime Ohio Bobcat.  Jason holds the AMS Seal of Approval, awarded by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the NWA Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association (NWA).  He is also a member of both professional organizations.

Now in its 40th year, Academic Challenge is one of the longest running locally-produced shows in television history and is scheduled to air each Saturday at 7PM beginning December 8th.  Academic Challenge was seen on WEWS from 1964-1999 and returned to the air in 2003.  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.  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.  Each week, students representing schools from all around Northern Ohio use their brains to battle toward the season championship.  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, proud sponsor of Academic Challenge, will once again award grants to the schools with the ten highest scores in the upcoming season.  The first place school will receive $10,000, the second place school $6000 and third place $4000.  Fourth through tenth place will receive $2000 each. In addition, each season Westfield Insurance awards over $30,000 in grant money to the top ten scoring teams.  This is a total of $34,000 to benefit area schools.

According to Roger McManus, President of Westfield Insurance, “Academic Challenge is important because it salutes the scholastic achievements of young people.  What we find surprising is the magnitude of responses we’ve received from schools, parents, students, and other community members regarding the show.  We’re proud to continue our sponsorship of Academic Challenge on NewsChannel 5.”