Ken Jennings has become synonymous with the popular game show, “Jeopardy!”
In 2004, Jennings was front-and-center as a contestant for 74 consecutive episodes. He still holds the record for the longest streak ever and is considered the “greatest of all time.”
According to History.com, he won more than $2.5 million, which is a record for U.S. game shows, during his historic run. The show also had an increase in ratings, which led to an above-ordinary game show contestant becoming a national television trademark.
Before appearing on the show, Jennings had watched the show frequently.
Ken Jennings Watching ‘Jeopardy!’
Jennings used to watch “Jeopardy!” twice every single day in order to prepare for when he was on the show. He also would stand up behind a fake podium and practice ringing a buzzer with a child’s toy.
It’s difficult to prepare for a show like “Jeopardy!” Even by studying a certain topic, you never know what to expect.
Jennings has grown so accustomed to the show from his record-breaking streak that he now has a different relationship with the show post-victory. Besides now being a millionaire, Jennings has a harder time watching the show consistently.
“Somewhere deep down, I think I’m still as Jeopardy!-addicted as when I was ten years old, watching the show every day without fail right after school. Because if I’m in an airport or restaurant or somewhere and Jeopardy! comes on the TV, I can’t look away. That said, I find that I have a hard time sitting on my couch and lazily shouting out answers at Trebek, like I used to. Everything about the show—the music, the graphics, the sound effects—causes some fight-or-flight adrenaline spike in my blood and I become hyper-aware of every detail of the show. Maybe I have post-traumatic stress disorder,” Jennings said on his official website.
While “Jeopardy!” used to be like a casual, one-sided relationship between the viewer and Trebek, the thrill of the stage took away a lot of that casualness. Perhaps now it serves as a reminder of the one H&R Block question that led to his downfall.
Beyond being a savage winner for 74 episodes, Jennings has a soft spot for the underdog.
“I’m a game show fan. I like when people win the big check or have a nice trip or whatever, and that’s exciting for me. Deep down I kind of root for the underdog, even though it’s my job to crush their dreams,” Jennings said, according to ABC 7 News.
Life After ‘Jeopardy!’
After the show, Jennings said he used the money to take care of the three essential T’s. That is “taxes, tithing, and a new widescreen TV.”
He also said he used the money for stocks, bonds, real estate, and charity. He is no longer working as a programmer like he was before. Now he is a freelance writer full-time. He has written several books, his first was called “Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs.”
Fans of Jennings can still see him appearing on a plethora of different game show stages. He was on “Master Minds” and is also a “Chaser” on “The Chase.”