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"Game of Thrones" Ends; Abuse of Aid in Yemen; "Jeopardy!" Contestants on Holzhauer. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 20, 2019 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Last night was a real miss on that front. And put your ear muffs on for this one in particular because I'm going to be a big spoiler here. The -- Bran (ph) gets the Iron Thrown.


BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Right. Right. So -- so --

BERMAN: That's just ridiculous.

CARTER: So -- especially because they set up the women as really potentially the -- justifiably the ones that would wind up with the power. And I do think that maybe hurt some of the people -- the fans of the show, but it was consistent -- I do think it was consistent because they set up that Daenerys (ph) was a little crazy. They sort of set that up that she -- that it was in her bloodline and all. So it wasn't like unfair. It wasn't a cheat to do that, I don't think. She had done some things like -- it wasn't a cheat to do it. It just -- I just thought -- I was disappointed like you because I thought she -- they had -- first of all, Emilia Clarke was fabulous and really appealing in the part. So I do think that hurt the fans a little. I don't think it was inconsistent though. I think they pulled that off.

FARLEY: Yes, but the problem for me with the end -- and, again, still enjoyed the show, still giving it an A -- is the fact that, you know, the most qualified women didn't get a chance at the Iron Throne.

CARTER: Well, that -- yes.

FARLEY: You know, instead, they picked Bran, the broken. This guy was totally gone in the battle of Winterfell. He got nothing done. And suddenly he's going to be named king? I mean Bran -- Bran the broken? I mean -- I mean come on.

CARTER: The justification -- the justification was that he had the best story. Well, I mean, Arya's story is a way better story. We watched 90 percent more with her than him.

CAMEROTA: It's like, wait, this is more time for reality in a fantasy show. It's time for fantasy, you know?

CARTER: Yes, that's a good point.



CAMEROTA: I mean that's what -- that's why people dream is to think that it could go the way you're pulling for, you know?

FARLEY: Well, and that's part of the problem. You hope that in fantasy the dreams can outstrip reality and yet in this fantasy series, they still couldn't envision women, they still couldn't envision people of color in real positions of power, in a real historic story (INAUDIBLE), and that's disappointing.

CARTER: Yes, that was disappointing.

I will say it's interesting to see -- hear all the people who were unhappy and wanted to change it and wanted to change the ending. It made me think about how you have to respect the artists in some way. This is what they wanted to do. They -- you followed them all along. This is what they wanted to do.

You know, for 150 years after -- 1681 on, they changed King Lear because they thought it was too sad.

FARLEY: Right.

CARTER: And they made a happy ending out of it because they thought, oh, well, you don't -- you don't rewrite the artist. The artist is -- that's his vision, so you have to go with that.

BERMAN: It seemed to me that the door is open for more, not just the prequel, which, you know, they're going to film, but, gosh, I mean, the dragon flew off. Again, ear muffs. I mean there can be a sequel.


FARLEY: Yes, definitely there can be a sequel. I mean I talked to George Martin a couple years ago and he talked about all of the new writing he planned to do in this whole word of Westeros he had completed and he was -- he was working on even beyond finishing the series, which he still hasn't finished. So I think we're going to see more short stories. We're going to see other people play in the sandbox that he's created. That dragon flew off. Who knows what the dragon's doing. You've still got ghost the dog (ph). Maybe he can have a series.

CARTER: And --

FARLEY: There are plenty of spinoffs available here and they're -- they're at work on some of them.

BERMAN: Can I just say --

CARTER: And one interesting turn was that Jon Snow, at the end, does not stay up at -- he does -- maybe I shouldn't say what he does --

BERMAN: Go for it. CAMEROTA: I don't think --

CARTER: But he goes off with the -- with the -- the wild people and -- and has a new potential change in his career.

BERMAN: Can I just -

FARLEY: Can I just --

BERMAN: I suggest one alternate ending that we can all agree on. The one person I think who probably should have ended up on the Iron Throne, can we put that picture up just so people see it right now. It's her. There we go.

CARTER: There you go.

CAMEROTA: Look at how good that looks.

BERMAN: There we go.


CAMEROTA: I mean -- yes.

CARTER: They have their own beautiful thrown there.

CAMEROTA: I mean I was late to "Game of Thrones," but I've embraced it --


CAMEROTA: As you can see here.


FARLEY: Good job.

CAMEROTA: But, you know, here's my question. I loved "The Sopranos." I loved "Sex and the City." And when those were end -- ended, I felt bereft. I lost family members. Do people feel that way about "Game of Thrones"? Did you love those characters or did you just love the majesty of the whole story?

FARLEY: Well, I think that one of the secrets of "Game of Thrones" and one of the reasons we're so connected to it is we actually saw these characters actually grow up. We actually saw Maisie Williams, we saw Sophie Turner actually go from being girls to now young women. And they're connected to it in a very deep way that's very satisfying and very involved. But also social media kind of came of age with the show.

CARTER: Right.

FARLEY: And because it wasn't ended, people were all filling the void with their own speculations about where it was going, how it was going to end. And that connected us really deeply to the show in a way that we weren't connected to other shows in the past.

CARTER: What I would say, the difference between "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" and "Breaking Bad" and other great shows like -- it is a fantasy show, so the characters are not -- you don't -- I don't particularly feel quite like them.

CAMEROTA: Right. They don't feel likely family members.

CARTER: They're a little bit separate from that.

CAMEROTA: Good point.

BERMAN: You'll like Arya, I'm just saying.

CARTER: Yes, you will.

CAMEROTA: Oh, OK. Fantastic.

BERMAN: You're going to like that. You're going to identify with her.

CAMEROTA: I can't wait to see episode three.

BERMAN: Chris, Bill, thank you very much.

FARLEY: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys.

All right, millions of people in Yemen are one step away from famine. So, up next, a CNN investigation exposes the systematic abuse that affected people in the world's worst humanitarian crisis.


[08:38:45] CAMEROTA: Help is desperately needed for millions of starving people in Yemen who are one step away from famine. A CNN investigation is exposing the systemic abuse of aid. Some of the donated food is being stolen by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on a scale far greater than has been reported before.

CNN's Sam Kiley shows us firsthand the desperation in the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

And we need to warn you that some of the video you're about to see is very difficult to watch.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Alisyn, it is a difficult watch and it's also a real conundrum for the humanitarian community, one that's been around since the U.S. led an invasion of Somalia back in 1992. How do you intervene in a civil war with humanitarian aid and try to prevent that aid from being misused and actually prolonging the war. In other words, weaponizing aid, in particular food aid.

And this is what we found in Yemen.


KILEY (voice over): The U.N. says that Yemen is one step away from famine because of war. But on a 4,000 kilometer journey through the worst hit areas, we found that innocent people are being brought close to death by a rebel Houthi government that's manipulating aid while U.N. officials try to stop them.

[08:40:04] We find evidence for this throughout northern Yemen, first in Bani Qais, a five hour's drive from the capital.

HAJJA IBRAHIM (through translator): They don't reach us here. They used to give us grains and flour, but then they refused to give it to anyone. They don't give us anything.

KILEY: Already dirt poor, people here relied on U.N. handouts. But those stopped when the World Food Program discovered that supplies were going missing.

MOHAMED EL-SHERIF, HEALTH WORKER, WHO (through translator): They used to give parents a bag of grains, oil and other stuff every month. This stopped two months ago. We don't know why. There are people higher up who know why.

KILEY: It's a problem that's been raised at the highest levels by the U.N.

LISE GRANDE, U.N. RESIDENT COORDINATOR: We've certainly, in several situations, had to say to local authorities, you don't let us in there, we can't continue these programs. And that's why we've been forced into situations where we've said, if you don't let us in, if you don't let us do our jobs properly, then we're not going to be able to continue.

KILEY: This is Aslam. The U.N. has been denied access to this area and stopped distributing food because it cannot be monitored. It's only a few miles from the front line. Ten thousand people poured into camps like this in a few weeks. Victims of a war being waged by a Saudi-led coalition armed by the U.S. against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

This boy has infected lungs the doctors say as a direct result of malnutrition. He's almost a year old, but his weight is that of a baby at three months.

These kids are trapped in a vicious cycle. They're starving because of the siege on the port that supplies them. But, on top of that, the rebel Houthi government is diverting what little aid does get in.

The Houthis are under siege. Their access to the outside world cut by coalition attacks on this, the main port of Hodeidah.

KILEY (on camera): Since the Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on this port and attacked it from the air, it's done about $800 million worth of damage, it's halved the amount of food and other materials coming into the port and it's destroyed about 60 percent of its capacity. The idea, of course, is to try to strangle the capacity of the Houthi regime to survive. The irony of course is from the Houthi perspective a control over a limited amount of supply, particularly when it comes to food, means you have control over everything.

KILEY (voice over): In the capital, Sanaa, the Houthi government denies this.

HUSSIN AL-EZZI, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Mistakes happen sometimes, but that doesn't mean or doesn't represent a policy on our side. We are happy with whatever aid reaches citizens because these citizens are our strength and support. They are our capital in this war.

KILEY: Without free food from the outside world, the Houthi government would struggle to survive. After all, the U.N. plans to feed 12 million people this year, mostly in the Houthi areas.

KILEY (on camera): Are you not worried that by being here you could be prolonging the war?

GRANDE: Certainly humanitarians are not political. We're here to keep people alive. The responsibility for ending the conflict is in the hands of the people who are driving that conflict.

KILEY (voice over): Yet here women and children struggle with hunger in a war where Yemen's powerful factions focus on fighting. The survival of their people they leave to foreigners sending aid.


KILEY: Now, John, that's a pretty grim picture. I'll acknowledge that equally one should also observe that the other side in the Houthi civil war that's backed by, among others, the United States via Saudi Arabia, have also been accused of widespread abuse of aid and indeed as Nima Elbagir has reported in the past, of leaking weapons into violent Islamist groups. So there are no goodies, as ever, in this sort of civil war.

BERMAN: And, meanwhile, it's the people who are suffering.

Sam Kiley, thank you very much for bringing us that story. We appreciate it.

All right, we're going to take a big turn here.

His "Jeopardy!" dream is every other player's nightmare. What it's like to compete against "Jeopardy!" champ James Holzhauer. That's next.


[08:48:46] BERMAN: Reigning --

CAMEROTA: Reigning --

BERMAN: Oh, that's you. CAMEROTA: You're so excited.

BERMAN: I was so excited. It's "Jeopardy!." I get excited.

CAMEROTA: You're so excited.

BERMAN: Because I know the answer.

CAMEROTA: I'm just going to read a few sentence, then I'm going to hand over to you.

BERMAN: All right, go ahead. Just, go, yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: Reigning "Jeopardy!" champ James Holzhauer returns tonight after a two-week hiatus. Holzhauer has won nearly $1.7 million, but he is still chasing legendary "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings. Jennings has thrown his support behind Holzhauer in an op-ed today writing --

BERMAN: I can go now?


BERMAN: I'm the only person alive who knows firsthand how difficult it is to do what Holzhauer is doing, and that's why I'm rooting him on. I may hold a bunch of "Jeopardy!" records, but at heart I'm just a fan of the show. And for any real "Jeopardy!" fan, the streak is something special.

CAMEROTA: And I know you feel that same way.

BERMAN: I -- yes.

CAMEROTA: As a winner.

BERMAN: As a winner, thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Of millions of dollars.

BERMAN: This is payback for me promoting your book. I feel like you say it any time you can that I won "Jeopardy!"

CAMEROTA: I want everybody to know that. That is a very big deal.

BERMAN: I recently spoke to three contestants who lost to Holzhauer. Alix Basden, Robin Falco and Adam Levin. Adam came close to beating Holzhauer. Watch this.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": Adam came up with the correct response, what is a Chamber of Commerce? And his wager, almost everything he had, shy of a buck. He's in the lead with $53,999.

[08:50:05] Over to James now, $33,517 going in. He came up with the correct response. I can't believe that he made a mistake in wagering. Let's take a look, $20,500, just enough, takes him up to $54,017. Yes, he breathes a big sigh of relief because Adam made you earn it today.


BERMAN: He got very, very close.

CAMEROTA: That's so close, like $18 or something.

BERMAN: All right, here is what Adam and the other "Jeopardy!" contestants told me about what it's like to face-off against the man who seemingly can't be stopped.


BERMAN: All right, Adam Levin joins us now, along with Alix Basden and Robin Falco, who also lost to Holzhauer.

You guys are the members of a very, very interesting club. One club that keeps on getting bigger and bigger as this guy just keeps rolling on "Jeopardy!"

Adam, I want to start with you because you got closest and I play "Jeopardy!," I know you actually get to see a lot of the games beforehand. Sometimes you get to see who's winning before you take the stage.

Adam, you had a chance to see how good he was. Was it intimidating?

ADAM LEVIN, LOST TO JAMES HOLZHAUER ON "JEOPARDY!": It was certainly something I had never seen before in terms of his speed and his strategy of using the bottom clues to build up a big lead.

Was I intimidated? Maybe a little bit. But I knew I was a pretty good player and that I was going to go out there and have fun and have the best time I could.

BERMAN: Alix, you were of the mind -- and this is certainly something people have talked about -- that Holzhauer has actually broken the game. What do you mean by that?

ALIX BASDEN, LOST TO JAMES HOLZHAUER ON "JEOPARDY!": Well, I don't quite think that he's broken the game, but I think that his game play style is definitely something that we cannot really beat by traditionally playing "Jeopardy." I think that he's definitely changing the game, but I don't know if the ways that he has changed his game can be replicated.

BERMAN: And, Robin, you take a look at it and you say, you know, he plays the game like a professional gambler as opposed to a contestant. What do you mean by that?

ROBIN FALCO, LOST TO JAMES HOLZHAUER ON "JEOPARDY!": He's turned it into -- look, he turned it into his job. He took a year off from his job -- that's what he told me -- to just focus on and perfect this. For us this is a game. This is a fun experience. And it -- when it comes to dealing with him, it was not.

BERMAN: What do you mean it wasn't fun?

FALCO: I made no secret of the fact that James and I did not get on backstage. I did not feel he was respectful to me. He wasn't respectful to some -- a lot of the other people, to the staff, I felt, and he doesn't have the respect for the game.

Yes, it just -- it wasn't -- it wasn't what we were expecting. It's not what we had prepared for.

BERMAN: And, Adam, I should note that you say that James was great to you and your family when you got close.

LEVIN: He was. My son had a chance to ask questions of Alex during some of the commercial breaks. After the game, after we shook hands and we were signing our paperwork, James went into the audience and gave my son a high five and said that you should be really proud of your dad because that was a great game.

BERMAN: How is he going to be beaten? I'm going to each of you this question. Is it going to be someone going in there and nailing the Daily Double, betting big early? What's going to happen?

FALCO: If you saw my game with Tyler, that was one of his -- James' lower scores, because we got the daily doubles. We couldn't do anything with them, but we got the daily doubles. And so I think it will be a question of somebody being able to get in on the buzzer.

BASDEN: I think Robin's right. I think that either you have to play like them -- like him or I've been saying, I think he's the only person who can beat himself if he wagers and it doesn't go his way, which may one day happen. Then he will behave beaten himself.

BERMAN: And, Adam, I want to leave it to you. So what's your advice? What's going to take him down?

LEVIN: Yes, I -- I agree with Robin and Alix. I think it will take a little bit of a perfect storm of somebody keeping the daily doubles away from him, maybe -- maybe he makes one mistake and makes a big wager and gets it wrong and has to start back again in building up his money. Maybe it's a wrong final jeopardy. But I think it will take a perfect storm maybe of all of that happening for him to finally lose a game.

BERMAN: Adam Levin, Alis Basden, Robin, thank you so much for being with us.

FALCO: Thanks.

BERMAN: And I have to say, you guys all played great.

FALCO: Thank you.

BERMAN: Really, really, I hope you all feel great about your performance on "Jeopardy!"

Thanks so much for being with us. FALCO: All right, thank you so much.

LEVIN: Thanks so much.



BERMAN: So he doesn't know politics as well as everything else.

CAMEROTA: That is really interesting.

BERMAN: He admits that politics is a weakness. So it's possible there could be one day, one game, where there's a lot of politics, maybe with the daily doubles in that category.

CAMEROTA: But don't you think that the -- the organizers -- I know this probably isn't allowed, should they start inserting some political questions if they want to move him out of the position?

BERMAN: I think you raise a good question. Do you think they want to move him on?

[08:55:01] CAMEROTA: I don't know.

BERMAN: Or do you like think they like the buzz here?

I saw the movie "Quiz Show."

CAMEROTA: Yes, me too.

All right, well, you may have noticed something different about us this morning. We're in our new studio. And we want to show you what went into creating this beautiful, shiny, fancy, new studio that we have. It took just hundreds of hard working men and women two months to put all of this together. Here's this time lapse video. This is our NEW DAY studio being built. More than 900 components make up our new LED displays that you see around us.

BERMAN: Including the feed (ph) TV.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's right, that you're a fan of. And 14 layers of floor, John, underneath us help with the acoustics.

BERMAN: It's a stunning new studio. CNN's new home here at Hudson Yards in New York has been in the works for seven years. Seven years in the making. It's one of the most state of the art broadcast facilities on planet earth.

And we would just like to thank everyone who's been involved from the very beginning, the entire CNN technical staff for making this all a reality.

CAMEROTA: Now, if somebody could show me how do get from here to my office.

BERMAN: That's right, I have no idea.

CAMEROTA: I have no idea where I --

BERMAN: I want to know where the bathroom is.

CAMEROTA: I don't either.

BERMAN: Where's the bathroom?

CAMEROTA: I don't either. We really need to find our way around here and we're going to need a map.

OK, the war of words between President Trump and Iran is ramping up. "NEWSROOM" begins after this quick break. We'll see you tomorrow.