Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Record-setting game show champ finally loses after 74 victories

The famous Jeopardy! winning streak came to a quiet conclusion as Ken Jennings was defeated by Nancy Zerg. Ken started winning on Monday June 2, 2004 and lasted for 75 contests.

Wiki: On Tuesday, November 30, 2004, Jennings' long reign as Jeopardy! champion finally came to an end when he lost his 75th game to fellow challenger Nancy Zerg, after missing two Double Jeopardy! Daily Double questions and the Final Jeopardy! question. The Final Jeopardy! clue was: Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year. The correct response was: "What is H&R Block?". Jennings incorrectly responded with "What is FedEx?" His final total was US$ 2,522,700. He was on for 182 calendar days including his first and last days.

Kottke.org had audio of Ken Jennings loss but had to removed it from his website. The New York Post said that the website "broke the story of Jennings' defeat last September".

Kottke.org: Update: I deleted the description of the audio clip after Sony "requested" that I do so. You may be interested in reading this article in the Washington Post instead. This is really a irritating situation, but I don't have the time, energy, or the access to legal counsel that a large newspaper does and am therefore just basically just rolling over. Sorry.]

The original tips I got from Phillip (1, 2) ended up being pretty accurate. Some of the details were a little off and/or paraphrased (he got the number in the answer as well as the woman's name wrong), but it was mostly correct.

Ken Jennings always had a tough time with Final Jeopardy. There were only 2 occasions where I saw the outcome still in doubt during Final Jeopardy during his streak. Unfortunately for him, tonight was the 2nd time and Nancy knew the answer (question?) immediately. He bet lots of money for both of the Daily Doubles he got in Double Jeopardy only to lose them both. All of the categories in the opening round were named after Seinfeld references (part of a cross-promotion for the DVD) and Jennings didn't pull away from the pack. His Achilles Heel was sports question and he couldn't name one answer for the category, "Pro Sports Venues." Nancy was a great competitor but she caught Ken Jennings on a strange night.

Ken Jennings' 'Jeopardy!' streak ends
"I felt a strange set of emotions. Surprisingly, a lot of it was relief. The suspense was over," he said. "So many lucky things had to fall just right. There were many, many squeakers."

Jennings, who became a media phenom during his run, commemorates the end of his reign Tuesday with an appearance on David Letterman's Late Show and as the focus of Nightline. He guests on Good Morning America and Live with Regis and Kelly Wednesday, with A&E featuring him in a Jeopardy! Biography Wednesday night.

ABC News: A 'Jeopardy!'-style Look at Ken Jennings' Winning Streak



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