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"The Game" Creator on Why Show Has to End After Season Nine

Quantrell D. Colbert/BET(NEW YORK) -- The Game was almost like the TV show that couldn't die. After fans resurrected it on BET, after it was abruptly canceled on The CW in 2009, the series is finally coming to an end.

The Game creator Mara Brock Akil tells ABC Radio why the show, which is centered around a fictional San Diego football team, is finally ending for good after its ninth season, and why they let fans know way in advance.

"We always talked, and very candidly so, that...we can't do the same thing on BET. You can't just snatch it off the air and say, 'That's it people!' I don't think that would work," she says. "I know what everybody wants but there's a business side to things -- there's contracts, there's money. And not everything can align and so you have to make artistic decisions, based on business decisions."

"For a show to make it to 147 episodes, that's a lot," Akil adds.

Akil says that compared to her other hit TV show, Girlfriends, which ended without a proper finale, fans will be happy to watch a series finale.

"It's a blessing to be able to say goodbye. You create shows knowing that they're not gonna last forever. It's always bittersweet to say goodbye, but compared to my experience on Girlfriends, to know that you're going to end it so you can enjoy the rest of [it]," she explains, adding, "and sometimes you're gonna cry through the process."

Although there were some tears when the cast wrapped filming the series, Akil tells ABC Radio that after each cast member did their last scene, they got a champagne toast. "We took the time to honor each other and say thank you, and remember the moment."

Akil wouldn't spill on what happens when The Game hangs up its cleats. But one question she did answer was will beloved characters Melanie and Derwin, played by Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Pooch Hall, respectively, return? Fans and cast members alike were outraged when the two were written out of the series in 2013.

"For the record, I personally have wanted it to happen and so has Tia and Pooch...and so has BET. But it doesn't always work out," she explains. "And that's the part of the business that nobody likes. But yeah, they're family. They're Melanie and Derwin." 

Akil also shared that P.J. Byrne, who portrays the cut throat yet zany football agent Irv, will return along with Rick Fox. Fox's return could mean that Tasha Mack, played by Wendy Raquel Robinson, may finally find love with one of her exes in the end.

The season eight finale of The Game airs on BET Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

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World's Tallest Burger: A Finland Cafe Says This Hamburger Is a Record Setter

Stiina Kokkonen(LAPINJARVI, Finland) — A café in Finland claims it broke the record this week for the world’s tallest burger.

For the price of $2,200, customers were invited to take a bite from a 16-foot-tall hamburger tower.

The owner of Mehiläis Pesä restaurant, in the small southern town of Lapinjärvi, Finland, told ABC News he decided to build the 220-pound monster on Monday “just for fun.”

“It’s also a way for us to advertise local food,” said Jarmo Lehtomäki.

Ingredients used to build the pyramid were all locally sourced, with lettuce and bread produced less than a mile away, Lehtomäki said.

Lehtomäki hired a new chef, and building the giant burger was his first task. It took him one hour and 40 minutes.

The chef and his team used a metal rod to keep the 250 beef burgers upright.

While the restaurant was open for customers during the construction, only a few people dared to taste the burger (though nobody actually was charged $2,200). Once it was over, most of the burgers were cold and dry, said the café owner, making them inedible.

The restaurant gave the food away to a local dog shelter owner with 23 dogs.

ABC News reached out to Guinness World Records, which had not yet confirmed the record.

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Trial of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Gets Underway Wednesday

FBI(BOSTON) — Opening statements are slated to begin Wednesday in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused in the deaths of three people, including an eight-year-old boy.

Following weeks of jury selection that involved a pool of nearly 1,400 people, a jury was seated Tuesday.

Twelve jurors and six alternates -- eight men and ten women -- will hear the evidence against Tsarnaev, 21, who prosecutors say with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, detonated two bombs made from pressure cookers near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

In addition to killing three people, the blasts wounded 260 others. Many of the victims were maimed for life, including 16 people who lost limbs.

Afterwards, prosecutors say the brothers went on the run. A few days later, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a gunfight with police after he and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly executed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.

Following an intensive manhunt, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was wounded, was captured hiding inside a boat parked in the driveway of Watertown, Massachusetts, resident.

Dzhokhar has pleaded not guilty to the 30 counts against him, including charges of using a “weapon of mass destruction resulting in death.” The most serious of the charges could put him on death row if he's convicted.

His defense team gave a hint of a potential strategy a year ago when they filed motions to obtain information the attorneys believed would show that between the brothers, Tamerlan was an “all-powerful force who could not be ignored or disobeyed.”

But while prosecutors focus today on Dzhokhar, authorities told ABC News they’re also investigating whether Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine Russell, knew of the deadly plot beforehand.

Russell is suspected of being the woman who accompanied Tsarnaev to a Macy’s in Boston two months before the April 2013 attack where the couple bought five pressure cookers – two of which were allegedly used to make the bombs placed at the marathon finish line. In an affidavit to search the Tsarnaev’s home, FBI agents said they were looking for clothing consistent with those seen on a security video at Macy’s.

Both lawyers for Russell and federal prosecutors declined to answer ABC News questions about Russell’s status, but a senior law enforcement official said she could face charges of misprision of a felony, or failing to notify authorities of a crime about to happen.

Days after Tamerlan was identified as one of the suspected bombers, Russell’s attorney, released a statement saying Russell was assisting the investigation into the bombing and was not aware of the plot beforehand.

“As a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, Katie deeply mourns the pain and loss to innocent victims, students, law enforcement officers, families and our community,” the attorney, Miriam Weizenbaum, said then.

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Winston 'Would Love' to Play in Tampa

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had an all-day meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday.

The Buccaneers, who hold the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, had team officials meet with the youngster who many believe the Bucs will take with that top pick.

"Being able to play three years in Florida, I would love to stay here in this great state," Winston told the Bucs' website. "I've just got to take advantage of this blessing. It's not really important to me to be the first pick, but it is important to me to be picked. I believe that I have been blessed during my years at Florida State to win a national championship and just be a winning quarterback. And I believe this place -- I would love to be here."

The 6-foot-4, 230 pound Winston played two seasons for Florida State, winning a national championship and Heisman Trophy along the way. He finished his time in Tallahassee completing 66 percent of his passes for 7,964 yards, 65 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions.

The NFL Draft runs from April 30 to May 2 in Chicago.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz's Business Card Lists His Gmail Address

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton isn’t the only official who uses a non-government email address.

A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card.

After it was revealed on Tuesday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted all of her government business from personal email accounts, personal email has been the topic du jour, and Chaffetz is at the forefront.

Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced Tuesday that his panel would join in an investigation of Clinton’s email use.

“Violations of the Federal Records Act within federal agencies is something we take very seriously,” Chaffetz said Tuesday in a statement. “The House Oversight Committee will work with [Rep. Trey] Gowdy and the Select Committee on Benghazi to further explore Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails while at the State Department.”

Chaffetz told ABC News that his business card was not paid for with government funds and that Congress is not subject to the Federal Records Act. He said that he uses both a Gmail account and a government email account.

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Mom With Terminal Cancer Blogs Fight for Her Life

WCIV-TV(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- New mom Whitney Cox's doctors may have put an expiration date on her life, but she's determined to beat their expectations and inspire others with her new, and popular, blog.

The 27-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with stage IV cancer shortly after the holidays. At first, doctors thought it was lymphoma, which would have been curable. But they soon learned they didn't know where the cancer originated, and it was aggressive, she wrote.

They gave her six months to live without treatment, she wrote on her blog. If she underwent chemotherapy, she could have five years.

"I was doing the math in my head about how old they [her children] would be when I was supposed to die and I just -- it broke my heart," she told ABC News Charleston, South Carolina, affiliate WCIV-TV.

Her daughter is 6 and her son is 6 months old. WCIV-TV was there when photographers snapped their first official family portrait as a family of four. Cox said she was hoping to do it before her hair fell out, but she was bald and beautiful for the cameras.

Since Cox started her blog a week ago, more than 12,000 people have viewed the posts about her journey with stage IV cancer. She writes that she hopes to renew others' faith in God through her experience and that she's praying for a miracle.

"I want people to realize how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away from us," she wrote in a post. "I want them to value their time on this earth with their families. I want them to hug their children a little tighter. I want them to believe in miracles, because I will get my miracle."


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'Zombie' Homes Horrify Neighbors Trapped Next Door

ABC News(ORLANDO) -- Orlando-area resident Mark Revord said he is living a nightmare, trapped next door to a so-called “zombie" home.

“Zombie" homes are dilapidated wrecks languishing in foreclosure limbo, abandoned by owners and often ignored for years by the banks that bring foreclosure proceedings against them, so they end up dying a slow, painful death and dragging down neighboring property values with them.

Revord’s neighbor’s house and yard are in shambles after being neglected for years, he said. The house was plagued by snakes, black widows and other poisonous spiders, and had an overgrown lawn, Revord added, before he took it upon himself to try to clean up the property.

Revord, 57, said his home was once valued at $250,000, but that plummeted down to $68,000 during the housing crisis. He and his wife are now trying to re-finance, but they are worried about the zombie home next door.

“The minute an appraiser wants to come out, that is going to be a problem,” he said, gesturing to the rundown home.

The state of Florida, where Revord lives, has more than 35,000 zombie homes, more than three times the national average, according to research firm RealtyTrac. New Jersey and New York are next on RealtyTrac’s list. In New Jersey, zombie foreclosures were up 109 percent from one year ago.

Once owners vacate a home, the bank that takes ownership, in many states, including Florida, is not obligated to maintain the property until the foreclosure process is complete, which can take years.

"If you just have one zombie property in a neighborhood, and there’s, say, 10 properties for sale within a mile of that home, or within half a mile of that home, it’s going to affect those homes," said RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist.

Debbie Payne, a real estate agent based in the Orlando suburb of Clermont, Florida, said she thought she had seen every type of home on the market until she went inside a few zombie homes in her area. One home had chickens inside. Another appeared to have become a squatters' hangout. All the windows were smashed out and copper had been taken from the air conditioners.

Revord said he tried to track down the bank that owned the dilapidated home next door.

“I actually tried to find out who the bank was that owned the house and it took probably nine months before I got an answer,” he said. “One answering machine to another, I never got someone.”

Property records tied the abandoned home next to Revord's property to Deutsche Bank National Trust, which referred ABC’s Nightline to a mortgage servicer, Bank of America, which in turn referred Nightline to Select Portfolio Services, which took over the loan servicing in 2012, and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In New York, some housing regulation changes are being talked about. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is proposing new legislation, a “Zombie Prevention” bill, to hold banks accountable for abandoned homes they bring foreclosures against.

“There are banks that are allowing properties to deteriorate and, if it is for insurance or any other reason, it is unacceptable,” Schneiderman said. “[The bill] is going to give the banks every incentive to complete a foreclosure quickly because they are going to have to maintain the property.”

But the banks are pushing back. The New York Bankers Association told Nightline in a statement, “Lenders favor a different approach to the one the attorney general has promoted. His approach focuses on maintenance rather than the core problem, which is the length of time it takes to complete the foreclosure.”

Any changes in New York won’t help Revord, unless the state of Florida adopts similar legislation. For now, he, and hundreds of thousands of other Americans, are stuck.

“Something is not right,” he said. “I would like a few answers and I think a lot of people in this country are in the same boat as I am.”


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