The Quiz Answer Is … “Beauty and the Geek”

Yesterday’s blog quiz invited you to guess which TV show I’ll soon be appearing on.

The clues were pretty sparse. It was a show “that, if you think about it, fits pretty nicely with Freakonomics. … The show is in prime time and it’s taped, not live.”

And yet just 35 minutes after the blog posting, the tenth commenter, “CakeEating,” wrote: “My guess is Beauty and the Geek. Isn’t that starting soon? And Geek rhymes with Freak, right?”

CakeEating is right. I’ll be appearing in the second hour of the season premiere of Beauty and the Geek, which begins at 8 ET/7CT tonight (Wed., Jan. 3), on the CW network (a union of the old WB and UPN networks).

When I was first asked to do the show, I didn’t even bother replying. I’d never heard of it, and from the title it didn’t sound worthwhile. Then I mentioned it to Levitt, who told me that it’s a really good show and that I’d be an idiot to not do it. He was right — at least about it being a really good show. I watched a few DVD’s of last year’s episodes, and was pretty much transfixed. It’s a reality show produced by Ashton Kutcher, who also made Punk’d, but it is not at all? mean-spirited. If, like me, you’ve never heard of the show, it’s described here as “Pygmalion meets Survivor with Punk’d overtones, and manages to win kudos for cultural insightfulness.” I’m not supposed to say anything about the content of the show, but the L.A. Times already has.

So congratulations to CakeEating, who’ll be getting a signed copy of Freakonomics for the first correct answer. MelloYello9838 will also get a book; he/she was randomly chosen from everyone else who also had the right answer but wasn’t first.


I like the idea of having quizzes with prizes on your blog, but isn't the prize a little inefficient? I would assume that the majority of the people that frequent this blog have already read Freakonomics, so you're offering a prize that people don't really want. (As we all know, a 2nd copy of a book suffers from very diminishing marginal utility.) And the "signed" copy doesn't add much more value, given that you've already offerred the signed bookplates for free on the blog previously.

I'd like to think that a blog devoted to economics could avoid sufferring from such an inefficiency. Could you consider offerring a different prize? Perhaps a copy of superfreakonomics, when it comes out? (Of course, I can ignore the possibility that irrationality may lead winners to discount the value of a gift that comes in the future, since all readers of this fine blog surely know better).


wow, and I said Identity, with the added comment that it was pretty easy. Guess I shouldn't speak so soon next time.


I am watching Beauty and the Geek right now, but can't tell which one Stephen is. Anyone have any help? I looked at the pic on the wikipedia article: but none of the guys look like that pic. (to me anyway)


A spare copy of a well liked book is always useful. It's always easier to talk to a friend about the particulars of a book if you have an extra copy to press upon her.


Wow. I bet that was painful.


Doh! I have to start watching more CW. Looks like most of your comments got edited out, but good job anyway, Mr. Freakonomics...Author.


That was a funny episode. You are an awesome sport Stephen! I still can't believe the ex Hooter's waitress interview went that well. Did it really go that smoothly or did editing just make it look like that?

The crowd here might get a kick out of this too. A prediction market on who will win this season of the Beauty and the Geek:


I forgot all about your appearance until my watch was watching the latest episode on DVR. It's unfortunate that we didn't get to hear much from Stephen (or "Mr. Freakonomics Author" as one contestent called him).


My *wife* was watching, not my watch.



I also thought Dubner meant he was one of the geeks. Sort of disappointing.


I'd love to see a Freakonomist-type character introduced to the cast of "The Big Bang Theory". Someone with that knowledge and method of looking at events would certainly put a spin on their interpretation that could take Sheldon & Co. for a loop. Besides, it would be harder for Dr. Cooper to dismiss the economist's observations as mere "hokum", as he is wont to describe social sciences in general, and few events are more entertaining in TBBT that a fellow nerd schooling Sheldon and his friends. Dismal science, my foot-- if successful it could spin off into its own sitcom series. "Game Theory", anyone?