KENNETH WAYNE "KEN" JENNINGS III (born May 23, 1974) is an American game show contestant and author. Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy! and as being the second highest-earning contestant in game show history . In 2004, Jennings won 74 Jeopardy! games (in a row) before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance. His total earnings on Jeopardy! are $3,196,300, consisting of $2,520,700 over his 74 wins, a $2,000 second-place prize in his 75th appearance, a $500,000 second-place prize in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, a $100,000 win for second-place prize in the Jeopardy Battle of the Decades, as well as half of a $300,000 prize in the IBM Challenge, when he competed against Watson .
During his first run of Jeopardy! appearances, Jennings earned the record for the highest American game show winnings. His total was surpassed by Brad Rutter , who defeated Jennings in the finals of the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions (first aired on May 25, 2005), adding $2,000,000 to Rutter's existing Jeopardy! winnings. Jennings regained the record after appearing on several other game shows, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (first aired on October 10, 2008), though Rutter retained the record for highest Jeopardy! winnings and once again passed Jennings' total after his victory in the 2014 Jeopardy Battle of the Decades tournament.
After his success on Jeopardy!, Jennings wrote about his experience and explored American trivia history and culture in his book Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, published in 2006.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Streak on Jeopardy!
* 2.1 End of the streak
* 2.2 Effect of the streak on Jeopardy!
* 2.2.1 Ratings effect
* 2.3 Media appearances and coverage during the streak
* 3 Jeopardy! Tournaments
* 4 After Jeopardy!
* 4.1 Blog controversy
* 4.2 Other game show appearances
American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
* 5 Endorsements * 6 Personal life * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links
Edmonds, Washington , Jennings grew up in
Jennings went to
STREAK ON JEOPARDY!
Before 2003, Jeopardy! contestants were limited to five consecutive games. At the beginning of the show's twentieth season (in 2003), the rules were changed to allow contestants to remain on the show as long as they continued to win. After this rule change, and until Jennings' run, the record winning streak was set by Tom Walsh, who won $186,900 in eight games in January 2004.
Jeopardy! appearance, Jennings was a member of BYU's Quiz
Bowl Team. Jennings' run began during Jeopardy!'s 20th season with
the episode aired on June 2, 2004, in which he unseated 2-time
returning champion Jerry Harvey, and continued into season 21. In that
first episode, Jennings's entire winning streak nearly ended before it
even began. The Final Jeopardy answer was, "She's the first female
track & field athlete to win medals in 5 different events at a single
Olympics." Jennings responded with "Who is Jones?", referring to
Marion Jones (the shows were recorded before she was stripped of her
medals as a result of admitted doping). Host
END OF THE STREAK
On November 30, 2004, Jennings' reign as Jeopardy! champion ended when he lost his seventy-fifth game to challenger Nancy Zerg. Jennings responded incorrectly to both Double Jeopardy! Daily Doubles, causing him to lose a combined $10,200 ($5,400 and $4,800, respectively) and leaving him with $14,400 at the end of the round. As a result, for only the tenth time in 75 games, Jennings did not have an insurmountable lead going into the Final Jeopardy! round. Only Jennings and Zerg, who ended Double Jeopardy! with $10,000, were able to play Final Jeopardy! as third-place contestant David Hankins failed to finish with a positive score after Double Jeopardy!.
Jeopardy! category was Business & Industry, and the clue
was "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work
only four months a year". Jennings appeared perplexed during the time
allowed to write a response, while Zerg finished her response quickly.
Zerg responded correctly with "What is
H&R Block ?" and wagered $4,401
of her $10,000, giving her a $1 lead over Jennings with his response
still to be revealed. Jennings incorrectly responded with "What is
Jennings' 75 matches took place over a span of 182 calendar days.
EFFECT OF THE STREAK ON JEOPARDY!
Jeopardy! implemented some backstage changes during Jennings' run. Normally, players only get a short time to practice, but more rehearsal time was added so that the new players could get comfortable with the buzzers. Additionally, the person who managed the buzzer system was changed. In his book Brainiac, Jennings says that the consistency of the original manager's timing had given an increasing advantage to continuing players, and that the change made a noticeable difference in the second season that he was on the show. At one point, announcer Johnny Gilbert stopped announcing Jennings' total wins during the show's opening.
On December 1, 2004, the day after his defeat,
Jeopardy! broke with
tradition by having Jennings make a guest appearance at the start of
the broadcast, during which host
Jennings appeared in The Guinness Book of World Records under "Most cash won on a game show."
According to the Nielsen TV National People Meter, Jeopardy!'s ratings were 22% higher during Jennings' run than they were during the same period the previous year. For several weeks of the winnings streak, Jeopardy! was ranked as TV's highest-rated syndicated program. By the end of Jeopardy!'s 20th season several weeks later, the show had surpassed Wheel of Fortune in the ratings but Wheel, which is usually paired with Jeopardy! in programming, also benefited from Jennings' streak.
MEDIA APPEARANCES AND COVERAGE DURING THE STREAK
Jennings has received a good deal of American media coverage. After
his 38th win on Jeopardy!, during the summer break between tapings,
Jennings made a guest appearance on
Live with Regis and Kelly
Jennings appeared on the
Late Show with David Letterman
In the final round of the Ultimate Tournament, Brad Rutter decisively defeated Jennings and Jerome Vered , with respective final scores of $62,000, $34,599, and $20,600. Jennings won the $500,000 prize for second place, but as a result of the Ultimate Tournament, Rutter temporarily displaced him as the highest overall winner of money on a game show. Jennings has said he is still happy with his second-place finish.
From February 14–16, 2011, Jeopardy's "
This was the first ever man-versus-machine competition in the show's history. At the end of the first episode, in which only the first match's Jeopardy! Round was aired, Rutter was tied with Watson at $5,000, while Jennings was in third with $2,000. After the second episode in which the first game was completed, Jennings remained at third with $4,800 while Rutter at second had $10,400. The competition ended with Watson with $77,147, Jennings with $24,000, and Rutter with $21,600. Below his response during the Final Jeopardy! Round, Jennings wrote on his screen "I for one welcome our new computer overlords ." It was the first time Rutter had been defeated against any human player, although the defeat is not on Rutter's Jeopardy! official record, as the competition was deemed an exhibition.
Jennings wrote about playing against Watson for Slate .
In 2014, Jeopardy! aired a special 5-week Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades tournament. Jennings made it to the finals along with Brad Rutter and Roger Craig . Jennings placed second, winning a $100,000 prize, and Rutter won first place, securing a $1,000,000 prize.
Taking advantage of the notoriety that Jennings's losing Final Jeopardy! answer afforded, H&R Block offered Jennings free tax planning and financial services for the rest of his life. H&R Block senior vice president David Byers estimated that Jennings owed approximately $1.04 million in taxes on his winnings.
In a 2011 Reddit IAmA , Jennings recalled how in 2004 the Democratic
Chuck Schumer and
Jennings has written several books. Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs details his experiences on Jeopardy! and his research into trivia culture conducted after the completion of his run. Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days, a hardcover book, is a compilation of trivia questions—with 3 categories and about 20 questions per day of the year. Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks explores the world of map and geography enthusiasts. Because I said so! is a humorous examination of 'The myths, tales to the September–October 2010 issue.
According to Variety.com , Jennings and television producer Michael
Davies teamed up as executive producers on a new game show format for
Jennings appeared on
The Colbert Report
He also appeared twice on
Jennings made the news in July 2006 when an article in the New York
Post by Michael Starr criticized Jennings for what Starr perceived as
lack of loyalty and gratitude on Jennings' part, citing an open letter
to the producers of
Jeopardy! and host
OTHER GAME SHOW APPEARANCES
Jennings appeared on the first two episodes of the NBC game show 1 vs. 100 on October 13 and 20, 2006 as a mob member. He incorrectly answered the question, "what color is the number 1 space on a standard roulette wheel?" as "black" instead of "red" in his second episode, eliminating him from the game. (He explained that he did not know the answer because his Mormon faith prohibits gambling.) He left the show with $714.29, his share of a $35,000 prize shared among 49 Mob members. Jennings returned to the show for a special "Last Man Standing" episode aired on February 9, 2007. He was eliminated on the final question, which asked which of the three options had been married the most times; he answered King Henry VIII , while the correct answer was Larry King . This episode was the first time Jennings had a chance at a rematch against rival Brad Rutter , who was also part of the mob and was eliminated before Jennings. Ken Jennings in 2008
In 2007, Jennings was invited to be a contestant on the game show
Grand Slam hosted by
Jennings was a contestant on an episode of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? that aired on October 10, 2008, which held the possibility of exceeding Rutter's total game show winnings. After winning $500,000, enough to surpass Rutter's total, Jennings chose not to attempt the final $1,000,000 question, which would have deducted $475,000 from his winnings if he missed it. As is customary on the show, Jennings was then shown the question to see what would have happened, and he provided the correct answer. Had he risked his winnings and correctly answered the question, he would have become the show's second $1,000,000 winner.
From 2008 to 2009, Jennings appeared on GSN on Fridays for the trivia game Stump the Master . Home viewers send questions via the GSN website. Four callers are put on hold and Jennings selects from one of the categories. The caller for the category he picked comes on the line and reads the question. If Jennings does not answer or is incorrect, the caller wins $1,000 or more. Any time Jennings is right, the jackpot is increased by $1,000. All callers are given a small prize, whether they participate on the air or not.
Jennings also appeared on two other Sony Pictures Television game shows, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire , as a frequent expert for the lifeline "Ask the Expert", and also taped a pilot for the proposed 2009 CBS revival of Sony's The $25,000 Pyramid .
Jennings appeared on Millionaire in 2014 as a contestant during Guinness World Records Edition themed week, where he won $100,000 after deciding to walk away on his $250,000 question. If he had gone for it, he would have been right and would have won $250,000.
Jennings appeared on the second-season premiere of 500 Questions on May 26, 2016 and was eliminated on the fourth question, leaving with no winnings.
Jennings appeared on an episode of
AMERICAN CROSSWORD PUZZLE TOURNAMENT
Jennings won the rookie division of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) in 2006. In his first time competing, Jennings placed 37th overall. He also served as the award's presenter, becoming the first contestant to present an award to himself. He has not competed in the tournament since.
Jennings had a weekly trivia column Kennections in Parade magazine .
In it, five questions are posed and their answers are all connected to
a mystery topic, which the readers are to guess. Parade ceased
publishing the quiz in early 2015, and removed links to archived
quizzes in March 2015. Kennections now appear in the online version of
TUESDAY TRIVIA EMAILS
Every Tuesday, Jennings sends an email out containing seven questions, one of which is designed to be Google-resistant. Subscribers respond with the answers to all 7 questions and the results are maintained on a scoreboard on Jennings' blog. At times he chooses to run multi-week tournaments, awarding the top responder with all 7 answers correct with such things as a signed copy of his newest book.
Jennings was the subject of some controversy for posting a tweet when he wrote "Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair."
Jennings again faced controversy when on November 10, 2015 he tweeted
a joke about the death of Daniel Fleetwood, a lifelong
Jennings once more faced controversy when on May 31, 2017 he tweeted
a joke involving
On September 7, 2017
Jennings agreed to a deal with
Jennings regularly competes in LearnedLeague under the name "JenningsK".
External video Ken Jennings: Watson, Jeopardy and me, the obsolete know-it-all, TED talks
* ^ "Our Attorneys". 27 September 2007. Archived from the original
on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
* ^ A B Jennings, Ken (2006). Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious,
Competitive, Compulsive World of
Random House . ISBN
* ^ A B "About Ken". Ken Jennings. Retrieved 2006-07-15.
* ^ ""JEOPARDY!" PREMIERES MILESTONE 20TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
SEPTEMBER 8, 2003: America’s Favorite Quiz Show Launches Season 20
With Many Exciting and Historic "Firsts"" (Press release). King World.
2003-09-04. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved
* ^ Jennings, Ken (2006). Brainiac. Villard. p. 28. ISBN
* ^ "J! Archive - Show #4657, aired 2004-11-30". Retrieved 9
* ^ "
* ^ "mental_floss media kit" (PDF) (Press release). Mental Floss
LLC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-07-09. Retrieved
* ^ Nov-Dec 2005 table of contents for mental floss magazine
Archived September 26, 2008, at the
Wikimedia Commons has