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"Mad Money" Host Jim Cramer Receives Wolverine Welcome

4/28/2006 --

"We're not in Ann Arbor anymore. We're in the sovereign state of Cramerica!" — Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money."

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Cheering fans, a sea of maize and blue, strains of "The Victors" wafting through the air – all things that are woven into the fiber of the University of Michigan. But when these phenomena are focused on a bald, 51-year-old man offering stock tips instead of on the football team, you know this must be some kind of altered universe.

Indeed. "Mad Money with Jim Cramer," the popular CNBC stock tip-cum-entertainment extravaganza descended upon the Michigan League Ballroom on April 25 for a live taping of the show that has become a universe unto its own. Students were hand selected by CNBC to attend the Back to School Tour taping.

Cramer, former hedge fund operator turned rock star of the stock market, makes otherwise mild-mannered business majors paint their faces and scream "Boo-yah!" at the top of their lungs.

Having already made his fortune, Cramer uses his television show, books and Web site to help the common man become wealthy. He eschews orthodoxy and recommends that people devote 20 percent of their portfolio to pure speculation because, in the long run, the "lottery ticket" stock will greatly outweigh the losses.

To the Ross School students who attended a meet-and-greet session April 24 at the Tozzi Center, Cramer advised, "Accept sacrifice. Swallow your ego. Be completely and utterly subservient. Be prepared to know everything about the market even when no one asks you, so you can distinguish yourself. The stock market is the fastest way to become rich. Then you can go fund what you really care about."

Cramer is subject to certain trading restrictions and must hold all securities in an Action Alerts PLUS Portfolio for at least one month. He is not permitted to buy or sell any security he has spoken about on television or on his radio program for five days following the broadcast.

How It Happens
A staff of six people who work long days compiling stock information for the show help keep this self-professed numbers freak informed. His show features eight dizzying segments packed into one hour, including a Lightning Round, Q&A, guest appearances and more. Plus, stock tip after stock tip. "The stocks we pick are poised to go up," explained Cramer, who said "Mad Money" tries to hit cultural touchstones across races, ethnic groups and age. "We try to get you to focus on business so it's not a chore," he said.

"Mad Money" Crew Takes Over
A technical crew of close to 50 people arrived April 23 to set up lights, audience seating, cameras and the director's booth at the historic Michigan League. Cramer arrived Monday evening to attend the Tozzi Center event, where he said, "CNBC gets a lot of calls from college students and no one else is reaching this demographic. That's why I wanted to do a college tour. And I had repeated requests to come to Michigan. People here know the show."

A well-oiled machine, Cramer's staff is used to high energy and zany antics, but even they were surprised by the level of electricity of the Wolverine crowd.

You people are fantastic. So much better than Harvard, it's not even funny," said a stage manager to the enthusiastic crowd. Harvard; Cramer's alma mater, was the first stop on the Back to School Tour, and Columbia University is up next.

Dana Simons, BBA student and co-president of the Ross School Accounting Club, was thrilled to be part of the extended crew. "It is so interesting to be behind the scenes of a show like this," she said. Simons, and dozens of members of the Accounting and Finance clubs, among others, were on the front lines for the "Mad Money" appearance, handing out flyers and invitations to be in the studio audience.

Domino's CEO Makes Appearance
Drawing the biggest cheer when he mentioned his early days delivering pizzas to the South Quad, Domino's CEO and U-M alumnus David Brandon made a guest appearance at the show. He mentioned that 150 current franchise owners started out delivering the blue and red boxes. And touting his company as an up-and-coming stock powerhouse, he pledged to close the gap between his company and its largest competitor, Papa John's, saying, "We're better than them."

Thanks, Skeedaddy
Cramer signed copies of his book, posed for photos and chatted with fans after the taping. CNBC back packs, filled with swag from event sponsors, were given to audience members as a thank you for their enthusiasm, patience and painted faces. Several dozen students who didn't make it into the taping but waited on stand-by also were given the opportunity to meet their stock Skeedaddy. "You are fabulous. So gracious. I will do anything for you guys. I'll hang around and make sure everybody gets touched," said Cramer.

Written by Nancy Davis



For more information, contact:
Heather Thorne
Phone: 734-936-8421
E-mail: hthorne@umich.edu