Jeopardy’s New Million-Dollar-Man
I’ve been keeping track of this phenomenon for just over three weeks I reckon. The latest Jeopardy Daily Update press release:
(CULVER CITY, CA) July 14, 2004 — Answer: He just broke the million-dollar mark and continues to shatter all JEOPARDY! records. The correct question: Who is Ken Jennings? Yesterday on JEOPARDY!, amiable software developer Ken Jennings from Salt Lake City soared beyond the $1 Million Dollar cash-winning milestone. Jennings’ Tuesday, July 13 episode marked his 30th consecutive appearance, and made the 30-year-old wunderkind a newly minted millionaire, with a whopping total so far of $1,004,960. Quick on the buzzer and well-versed in topics from Rock Music to Opera (“Who is Kurt Cobain?” and “What is Madame Butterfly?” were among his over 1,000 correct responses so far), the champ has steadily averaged over $33,000 per JEOPARDY! episode.
A rule change introduced in the Fall of 2003 lifted JEOPARDY!’s five-day win limit, allowing contestants the opportunity to continue earning winnings as long as they remain victorious. “When we changed the rule, we declared that the Sky’s the Limit for JEOPARDY! Champions, and boy, oh boy, has Ken certainly proven that true,” says JEOPARDY! host Alex Trebek.
Jennings grew up attending schools in Seoul, Korea, and Seattle, Washington, as well as in Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Computer Science and double major in English. He also spent two years in Spain on a mission for the LDS Church. He currently develops software for CHG Companies, Inc., one of the nation’s largest providers of healthcare recruiting and staffing services. Described as “the guy next door with a great personality,” Jennings has become a media darling this summer. Featured in People magazine, on popular morning shows and in late night opening monologues (he recently delivered the famed “Top 10 List” on Late Show with David Letterman), Jennings says he is just as comfortable staying at home with his wife Mindy and playing with their year-and-a-half-old son Dylan and dog Banjo. As well, he cites hiking, writing and watercolor and acrylic painting as treasured pastimes.
The previous JEOPARDY! record-holder, Tom Walsh from Washington, D.C., a former policy advisor to the Senate Finance Committee, won seven shows and earned $184,900 in January 2004.