‘Jeopardy!’: Watch 2008 Champ Experience Hilarious Technical Failure in Final Jeopardy

by Jennifer Shea

In a 2008 “Jeopardy!” episode, a contestant’s electronic pen hilariously malfunctioned, forcing him to scribble furiously on a notecard as legendary “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and the other contestants looked on.

After his first attempt at writing an answer, as the “Jeopardy!” theme music faded, the contestant was left standing there, waving the pen in the air helplessly.

“Didn’t write?” Trebek said calmly. “Write it on the card in front of you, please.”

So the contestant did, and then Trebek turned to the answers of the contestants trailing him. Both answered correctly. But would the poor harried leading contestant eke out a win despite his technical difficulties?

Watch the video here to find out:

‘Jeopardy’ Is Currently Airing Tournament of Champions

The game show is currently airing its Tournament of Champions. Guest-hosted by “Jeopardy!” champion Buzzy Cohen, the tournament consists of quarterfinals (which aired Friday), semifinals and finals.

This year’s Tournament of Champions is dedicated to five-time “Jeopardy!” winner Brayden Smith, who died of complications from surgery on Feb. 5 at age 24. Smith was known as “Alex’s last great champion,” and he earned the nickname “Billy Buzzsaw” from Trebek for his quick buzzer trigger finger.

“Jeopardy!” tipped its hat to Smith with a video that aired during the Tournament of Champions Friday, per Deadline.

“You’ve now met all 15 of the player who qualified for the Tournament of Champions — well, almost all,” Cohen said in the video. “Brayden Smith, the incredible young man who won five shows and $115,000 in January, passed away earlier this year. Brayden’s family has established a fund in his name, and ‘Jeopardy!’ will be donating to that fund. We want to express our best wishes and condolences to his family.”

In response, Smith’s mother Debbie tweeted the video along with a message from Smith’s family.

“Our family is deeply touched by @Jeopardy’s ToC tribute to Brayden and its pledge to support the Brayden Smith Memorial Fund,” she posted. “What a formidable group of Champs. Brayden would feel honored to be counted among you.”

The Search for Trebek’s Replacement Continues

Meanwhile, Cohen is just one in a long line of guest-hosts vying to take over for Trebek as permanent host. Since Trebek’s final episode aired on Jan. 8, a series of guest-hosts has filled in.

The first guest-host to stand behind the lectern was former “Jeopardy!” champ Ken Jennings. After him came executive producer Mike Richards. Next was former “Today” show co-host Katie Couric. Following her was “Dr. Oz Show” host Dr. Mehmet Oz. After him was Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Then it was CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. Last before Cohen was “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker.

After Cohen, actress Mayim Bialik will take a shot at guest-hosting. Then “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie is up. After her, it’s CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Later this summer, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, David Faber and Joe Buck will also try out as guest-hosts. Richards has said the decision will ultimately be up to Sony executives, who are reportedly going at it with analytics and audience testing, not subjective impressions.