One year after Alex Trebek died, former Jeopardy! champion, Ken Jennings, returned to the show. This time he was serving as the host, standing on the other side of the room where he became a star.
Jennings came into the role with a lot of emotions, seeing as how he was replacing a man he spent a lot of time with as he wracked up so much money on the game show. Now, a year after that, Jennings will continue splitting the hosting duties with Mayim Bialik, and fans will see a lot more of him.
Here are some things you might not know about Ken Jennings as he continues to work as a co-host on Jeopardy!.
Ken Jennings hosted the show on the one-year anniversary of Alex Trebek’s death
Ken Jennings served as the Jeopardy! host on the one-year anniversary of Alex Trebek’s death. Not only that, but he said that the producers kept him from knowing that it was that exact date he hosted the show.
“Apparently, everyone was aware that we were going to air (my first episode) on the anniversary and nobody told me,” Jennings said at the time. “They didn’t want to put that in my head. So I was not told until after that it was the Nov. 8 show.”
That date was Monday, November 8, 2021.
Ken Jennings had the highest percentage of correct answers in Jeopardy! history
Everyone knows that Ken Jennings was a master champion on Jeopardy!, but he was even better than many fans remember. While he returned to the show as a contestant for Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time in 2020, he had a higher percentage than either Brad Rutter or James Holzhauer.
Jennings won more money than almost anyone in Jeopardy! history, with $4,522,700 in winnings. In his 74-show run, he won $2,520,000, and then he added $500,000 in 2005’s Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, $100,000 in Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades, and $1 million first-place prize in Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time in 2020.
Only Ken Rutter surpassed him when he won Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions.
Jennings also won money on other game shows
Jeopardy! wasn’t Ken Jennings’ only game show. In 2006, he appeared on 1 vs. 100, where he won $714.29. In 2007, he appeared on Grand Slam and won that show, taking home $100,000. Jennings competed on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader in 2008 and won $500,000 when he refused the $1 million question opportunity. In 2014, he won another $100,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Jennings also plans to head to Pyramid.
Ken Jenning’s first Jeopardy! win was controversial
Ken Jennings knew a rule that many fans didn’t know, and it meant that many felt he guessed his first Final Jeopardy answer. The question was about the Olympics and the answer was “Marion Jones.” What Ken wrote was, “Who was Jones?” Because it was a common name, many fans felt he just guessed a popular name and even Alex Trebek had to pause before the judges said the answer was acceptable. Ken said it was all within the rules.
“Unless there’s a weird trick I didn’t realize, the answer was Marion Jones. I knew the answer,” Jennings said in an interview. “The thing is, I had been trained by years of Jeopardy! watching and college quiz bowls that you only give the last name. Because there’s then an additional opportunity to introduce some kind of error… I don’t think it was a tough judgment call. The Jeopardy! rule is almost always ‘the last name is acceptable by itself’ unless there’s a particular ambiguity.”
Jeopardy! fans continue to learn more about Ken Jennings as he continues hosting the show.
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