‘Jeopardy!’ Legend Ken Jennings’ First Call After Taping Shows Was Always His Wife

by Chris Haney

During Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings’ historical run on the popular game show, his wife, Mindy, was always his first phone call.

Back in 2004, Jennings went on a record 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy!. He’s universally known as the greatest player in the game show’s history. During his almost six-month run, the champion had to keep quiet about his time on the show. The episodes are pre-taped, and in some cases, they don’t air for months.

However, Jennings would reveal the results of each round to one person: his wife.

“She was always my first call when I got back to the Sony parking garage,” Ken Jennings said to Vulture in May 2020.

He said no one else knew why he would randomly disappear a few times a month. Yet he wisely filled in his boss as well since he didn’t want to lose his job.

“None of my friends, family, or co-workers knew why I was sneaking away a few times a month,” Jennings added before admitting he did tell his boss as well, “because I didn’t want to get fired.”

In addition to his 74-game win streak, Jennings also immediately told Mindy about the results of his Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament performance in January 2020. He joked that he “didn’t want her to divorce me.”

“But my kids didn’t know, my parents didn’t know. We totally kept it under wraps,” he said of the four-match contest he won. “I just thought it would be more fun for them to have the surprise, and it was a lot of fun watching it together.”

Ken Jennings Is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time)

Following Ken Jennings tournament victory, he was undoubtedly crowned the Jeopardy! GOAT. Even though he held numerous records on the game show, some questioned his position in the game show’s history.

You’d think after winning 74 consecutive episodes and earning $2.52 million during his run would be enough. Additionally, he made other appearances that raised his total winnings to $3,270,700.

“It’s been a great time. It’s the kind of thing that only comes once in a lifetime,” Jennings explained after the streak came to an end. “And I just try to enjoy every minute of it. I really have had a happy life. And I hope nothing changes. I just want to stay the same person that I am despite it all.”

In fact, legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek thought Jennings’ 2004 record would never be beaten. Contestant James Holzhauer has come the closest to Jennings’ record with a 32-game win streak – 42 games away from the record.

But to settle the debate of who’s the Jeopardy! GOAT, a four-match tournament was created for the show’s three most successful players. Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer faced off in the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament. Of course, Jennings came out on top and settled the debate once and for all. Ken Jennings would go down in Jeopardy! history as the best to ever play the game.