HomeEntertainment‘Jeopardy!’: What Was Ken Jennings Job Before Racking Up Millions on the Show?

‘Jeopardy!’: What Was Ken Jennings Job Before Racking Up Millions on the Show?

by Emily Morgan
(Eric McCandless via Getty Images)

Alex Trebek first introduced Ken Jennings to the nation as “a software engineer from Salt Lake City.” We first got a glimpse of Jennings when he appeared wearing a modest jacket and a grin on June 2, 2004, on “Jeopardy!” Unbeknownst to the world and Jennings, he would become a legendary contestant in the history of the show. Moreso, his life would never be the same after that day. 

Before he was wowing fans at home with his endless supply of trivia knowledge, Jennings worked a regular job as a software engineer at a healthcare staffing company in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Today you can’t bring up the word without “Jeopardy!” without thinking of a few people who left their lasting mark on the show. Of course, the late Alex Trebek comes to mind first after spending decades behind the iconic lectern. Another name associated with the quiz show is “Jeopardy!” GOAT and champ, Ken Jennings. 

Jennings, who had a 74-game streak on the show in 2004, has now become another “Jeopardy!” icon. Just in his first week of gameplay, he racked up more than $100,000. After 16 consecutive games, he had hit $500,000. 

In 2020, the show dubbed Jennings the greatest player of all time. In addition to the esteemed title, he also won a cool $1 million when he crushed the Greatest of All Time tournament against other “Jeopardy!” veterans. After stunning millions on television, he was inevitably thrust into the national spotlight, and his “Jeopardy!” appearance forever altered his life. 

Ken Jennings Post ‘Jeopardy!’

After his six-month stint on the show ended when one-time winning contestant Nany Zerg outsmarted him on H&R Block trivia, he stayed in the spotlight. Jennings made several appearances on the talk show circuit, appearing on popular morning and nighttime shows such as “Live! with Regis and Kelly” and “Late Night with David Letterman.” Barbara Walters also named him one of the most fascinating people of the year. 

Off-camera, he also started writing books. His debut book, Brainiac, allowed fans to get to know Jennings Pre-“Jeopardy!” stardom. Now, as a published author with 12 books under his belt, life couldn’t be better for Jennings. He recently ended his six-week hosting gig after the beloved Alex Trebek passed away, and the show scrambled to find an interim host. Following his stint, many call for the “Jeopardy!” producers to name him as the show’s permanent host. However, other shows such as “The Chase” may take issue with that, seeing as Jennings acts as a co-host. 

While Jennings game show future is yet to be determined, one thing is for sure. His fans will be watching.