It’s an honor that very few ever get, and it fills those that do with fear. If you’ve never stood on an MLB mound and seen the distance a ball needs to go to make it across the plate, make no mistake, it’s further than it looks. “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings was given the honor recently.
Tonight, he threw out the first pitch at his beloved hometown Seattle Mariners game. The jersey he wore? It harkened back to perhaps the greatest achievement of his life.
The custom Mariners jersey bears the Jennings name, and just beneath it is the number 74. It’s his lucky number. Why? Because that’s the mind-blowing number of “Jeopardy!” games he won in a row when he made game show history back in 2004.
The legendary “Jeopardy!” performance has never been matched. The 74-game win streak earned Jennings more than $2.5 million. But perhaps more importantly, it gave him an entirely new career. The software engineer became a celebrity overnight. And his trivia prowess plus his profound wit have been entertaining us ever since.
Did Ken Jennings rest on his “Jeopardy!” laurels? Absolutely not. In addition to writing books and hosting television shows on his own terms, Ken Jennings, in addition to other tournaments over the years, returned to the fold for the “Jeopardy!” Greatest of All Time Tournament in 2020. It should come as no surprise, then, learning that he beat James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter to earn another $1 million.
His “Jeopardy!” earnings make him the highest-paid game show contestant to ever walk this earth. Granted, there have only been 80 some odd years of TV game shows to speak of. But it’s a massive achievement, nonetheless. It seems that 74 is his lucky number, indeed.
The ‘Jeopardy!’ Star is a Favorite for the Permanent Hosting Gig
When Ken Jennings isn’t throwing out the first pitch at MLB games, he remains a dedicated student of trivia. “Jeopardy!” fans will remember the short guest-hosting stint he did to kick off the current season of the show.
When the reviews came in, they confirmed what everyone was thinking. Ken Jennings is among the frontrunners for the job of permanent “Jeopardy!” host. He’s in the mix with a few other favorites including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and “Reading Rainbow” star LeVar Burton.
But according to executive producer Mike Richards, the search for a new host isn’t as simple as picking someone based on their immediate appeal.
“You want to make an informed decision. We want to go at this with real analytics and real testing and not just go, ‘Hey, how about this guy?’ which is kind of how a lot of these decisions have been made historically,” Richards told The Wallstreet Journal’s podcast in April.