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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) — It could be an anxious wait of up to two months for people in a small Florida city to find out who won the highest Powerball jackpot in history: an estimated $590.5 million.
The lucky ticket was bought sometime Saturday or earlier at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, a city of about 13,000 people best known around the state for its brand of spring water with the same name.
The winner has 60 days to claim the lump-sum cash option, estimated around $376.9 million, at the Florida Lottery’s office in Tallahassee. No one had come forward as of Sunday afternoon.
“It never happens this quickly,” lottery spokesman David Bishop said. “If they know they won, they’re going to contact their attorney or an accountant first so they can get their affairs in order.”
The winner wasn’t Matthew Bogel. On Sunday, he loaded groceries into his car after shopping at the Publix. He shook his head when asked about the jackpot.
“It’s crazy, isn’t it?” he said. “That’s so much money.”
It’s an amount too high for many to imagine. Compare it to the budget for the city of Zephyrhills: This year’s figure is just more than $49 million. The winning Powerball jackpot is 12 times that.
Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said there are a lot of rumors about who won, but the store doesn’t know. “We’re excited for the winner or winners,” she said.
Plenty of people in Zephyrhills are wondering whether it’s someone they know.
Joan Albertson drove to the Publix early Sunday morning with her camera in hand, in case the winner emerged. She said she bought a ticket at a store across the street, and the idea of winning that much money was still something of a shock.
“Oh, there’s so much good that you could do with that amount of money.” Albertson said. “I don’t even know where to begin.”
Zephyrhills is a small city in Pasco County, about 30 miles northeast of downtown Tampa. Once a rural farming town, it’s now known as a hotbed for skydiving activity, and the home to large retiree mobile home parks and the water bottled from the natural springs that surround the area.
And now, one lucky lottery ticket.
“I’m getting text messages and messages from Facebook going, ‘uh, did you win the lottery?’” Sandra Lewis said. “No, I didn’t win, guys. Sorry.”
Sara Jeltis said her parents in Michigan texted her with the news Sunday morning.
“Well, it didn’t click until I came here,” she said, gesturing to the half-dozen TV live trucks humming in the Publix parking lot. “And I’m like, ‘Wow I can’t believe it, it’s shocking!’ Out of the whole country, this Publix, in little Zephyrhills would be the winner.”
With four out of every five possible combinations of Powerball numbers in play, lottery executives said Saturday that someone was almost certain to win the game’s highest jackpot, a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars — and that’s after taxes.
The winning numbers were 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball of 11.
Estimates had earlier put the jackpot at around $600 million. But Powerball’s online site said Sunday that the jackpot had reached an estimated $590.5 million.
The world’s largest jackpot was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012.
Terry Rich, CEO of the Iowa Lottery, initially confirmed that one Florida winning ticket had been sold. He told The Associated Press that following the Florida winner, the Powerball grand prize was being reset at an estimated jackpot of $40 million, or about $25.1 million cash value.
The chances of winning the prize were astronomically low: 1 in 175.2 million. That’s how many different ways you can combine the numbers when you play. But lottery officials estimated that about 80 percent of those possible combinations had been purchased recently.
The longshot odds didn’t deter people across Powerball-playing states — 43 plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands — from lining up at gas stations and convenience stores Saturday.
Clyde Barrow, a public policy professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, specializes in the gaming industry. He said one of the key factors behind the ticket-buying frenzy is the size of the jackpot — people are interested in the easy investment.
“Even though the odds are very low, the investment is very small,” he said. “Two dollars gets you a chance.”
Lewis, who went to the Publix on Sunday to buy water, said she didn’t play — and she isn’t upset about it.
“Life goes on,” she said, shrugging. “I’m good.”
Rodriguez reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press Writer Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this report.
Follow Tamara Lush at http://twitter.com/tamaralush .
Follow Barbara Rodriguez at http://twitter.com/bcrodriguez .
"Californication" (seven seasons)
"Entourage" (eight seasons)
Much like “Californication,” this man-centric show started strong and buzzy -- a perpetual nominee at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and a perceived gender-swapped “Sex and the City.” Then it ground on and on, and what might once have been read as a sophisticated satire of Hollywood materialism became a grinding conveyor belt of self-congratulatory guest-star appearances.
"Will & Grace" (eight seasons)
Hey, did someone say “self-congratulatory guest-star appearances?” Look -- it’s Jennifer Lopez, and Cher, and Janet Jackson, and Madonna! The latter seasons of “Will & Grace” effectively ruined the fun of watching the show in syndication now -- will it be a fun and jaunty early episode, or a later episode in which title characters enact an Ibsen play about having a baby together (really) while Jack and Karen meet one pop star or another? The fact that the show hastened a widespread acceptance of gay people that, then, made the show something of a throwback by the time it ended is one thing; the fact that the show itself seemed uninterested in relying on its actors’ sharp comic timing is quite another.
"The King of Queens" (nine seasons)
This CBS stalwart just kind of kept going, exactly as long as was needed to launch Kevin James’ film career. In the show’s final minutes, a formulaic sitcom became a mile-a-minute soap, with the central characters considering divorce and then having two children.
"Frasier" (11 seasons)
Though it ended strong, "Frasier" had something of the opposite problem as “The King of Queens”: While the CBS comedy chucked a whole bunch of plot at viewers toward the end, NBC’s Emmy magnet stayed stuck in familiar ruts, with Frasier questing endlessly for love and Daphne and Niles in fairly unthrilling domestic bliss. The jokes stayed good, but this maybe could have gone one or two years shorter.
"Weeds" (eight seasons)
As “Homeland” viewers may be learning, Showtime isn’t particularly good at keeping its shows coherent over time. (Maybe this is “Californication”’s issue -- we wouldn’t know!) This show changed settings and, effectively, organizing conceits so many times that by the end, it had few earnest defenders.
"Nip/Tuck" (six seasons)
This FX series, too, changed settings midway through, moving from Miami to Los Angeles four seasons in for no compelling reason. The show’s most gripping subplots had a way of petering out (remember the anticlimactic solution to the mystery of the Carver?), and its bizarre tendencies overtook any sense of fun.
"Glee" (five seasons and counting)
The series has, like its sibling show “Nip/Tuck” (Ryan Murphy created them both), switched locations, moving in large part to New York once its core cast graduated high school. But what’s the point of a high school series when the stars graduate? Despite some lovely moments, the show’s heat seems gone, and attempts to get back into the conversation (the school shooting episode, for instance) have been more desperate and tone-deaf than effective.
"Grey's Anatomy" (10 seasons and counting)
Here’s the thing: By all accounts, “Grey’s Anatomy” is not a creative failure. And it’s still widely watched. But when you begin your life as a world-beating hit, anything else seems somewhat marginal. “Grey’s Anatomy” has shed more regular viewers than many shows will ever hope to get in the first place (same’s true of “Survivor” and latter-day “ER,” to name just a few). Those who stopped watching once the Golden Globe nominations petered out may wonder why the show is still on; loyal viewers know better.
"The Simpsons" (25 seasons and counting)
Like the “Grey’s” doctors, the Springfield clan and their neighbors still draw a crowd. But “The Simpsons” is so omnipresent in syndication and in pop culture that the first-run series seems besides the point (not least because, though there are good episodes here and there, the show’s best days are universally agreed to be behind it -- like way behind it, in the 1990s).
"The Office" (nine seasons)
There was a natural break for this show, where it ought to have ended -- with the departure of lead actor Steve Carell in Season 7. The latter years were a creative fugue state, and as NBC’s Thursday night lineup continued to flatline in the ratings, one-time fans could be forgiven at their surprise that the adventures of Jim and Pam kept on unfolding.
"The X-Files" (nine seasons)
Once one of the show’s leads departs and has to be replaced -- as Steve Carell did on “The Office,” or David Duchovny did here -- the show faces a reckoning; if the lead is so central to the show’s plot as to make people wonder how the show could possibly go on, maybe the show shouldn’t. And even “X-Files” superfans might have been happier with fewer seasons of drawing out the conspiracy string toward a famously unsatisfying ending.
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