“Jeopardy!” guest host Ken Jennings is letting fans in on a little secret: his good luck charm as a guest host.
Ken Jennings Shares Photo of His Charm
“A friend gave me this piece of quiz show history: an audience ticket to Alex’s very first Jeopardy! pilot from 1983 (‘ALEX TREBEK! DOOR PRIZES!’),” Jennings tweeted. “I kept it in my pocket while guest-hosting Jeopardy! this week as a good luck charm.”
And he could certainly use a good luck charm. Jennings has been beset by controversies since he took over hosting duties on the show.
First he tweeted that there is “nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.” The 2014 tweet drew criticism for being “ableist” and Jennings subsequently apologized, saying, “It meant something very different in my head.”
Then Jennings latched onto the fallout from Kathy Griffin’s photo of herself holding a mockup of President Trump’s severed head. Some reports suggested that Trump’s son Barron, 11 at the time, thought the image was real.
“Barron saw a very long necktie and a heap of expired deli meat in a dumpster,” Jennings tweeted. “He thought it was his dad & his little heart is breaking.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Jennings also tweeted a nasty swipe at all conservatives that presumed to know what entertainment content they like.
“To all the conservatives who found out today that Tom Morello or Jim Gaffigan don’t share their politics: it’ll be easier to get this done all at once,” he tweeted this past June. “NOBODY whose work you like shares your politics. You get Kelsey Grammer and that’s it.”
Most recently, Jennings got dragged into the controversy over his podcast co-host’s questionable statements on parenting. Jennings defended his embattled co-host, who he said is a loving and attentive father.
Jennings’ Mea Culpa
When the controversies around him had gathered steam, Jennings did issue an apology of sorts.
“Hey, I just wanted to own up to the fact that over the years on Twitter, I’ve definitely tweeted some unartful and insensitive things,” he tweeted last month. “Sometimes they worked as jokes in my head and I was dismayed to see how they read on screen.”
“Sometimes I said dumb things in a dumb way and I want to apologize to people who were (rightfully!) offended,” he added. “It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter: I screwed up, and I’m truly sorry.”
Jennings concluded his apologetic thread by saying “we should be kinder to one another” and welcoming 2021 with that sentiment in mind.
“Jeopardy!” has yet to select a permanent replacement for late host Alex Trebek. But show producers are said to be considering Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira and “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards for the role, according to E! News.