New Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings courted controversy in a recent episode. Jennings took over as the new host of daily Jeopardy! following Alex Trebek's death (and the high-profile guest host tryouts that followed and ended in controversy). At the same time, The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik became the host of primetime Jeopardy! Fans have been irritated with Bialik over minor tics like calling the Jeopardy round "Single Jeopardy." However, they have a more substantial bone to pick with Jennings after the September 14th episode of the long-running game show. Fans are accusing the host of showing favoritism to one contestant over another.
The controversial moment came when Luigi de Guzman, then the defending champion with a four-game winning streak, chose a clue from the "Cons" category during the September 14th game. The clue showed a painting and asked the contestants to name the artist.
De Guzman buzzed in and, at first, answered with, "What is Constant?" That's incorrect, but Jennings prompted de Guzman for clarification, responding with, "Say it again." De Guzman corrected himself, offering, "Sorry, who is Constable?" Jennings awarded De Guzman the money for the correct answer.
Jeopardy! allows players to correct or amend their answers as long as the timer hasn't run out and the host and judges haven't given already ruled the answer as incorrect. However, Jennings' prompting here is unusual. Trebek frequently nudged contestants to be more specific when the judges needed a more precise response to award points. However, prompting the player to repeat their answer and then allowing the second response is unusual behavior. If Jennings simply didn't hear the first response clearly, that's one thing. However, if that had been the case, some fans would expect the judges to take the points away from de Guzman after the commercial break since he gave a different answer after an incorrect one. That did not happen.
While that interaction, in a vacuum, is unusual, it was made worse by Jennings' ruling earlier in the game. Another contestant, Harriet Wagner, gave a similarly incorrect response, seeming to misspeak despite knowing the answer. However, her first answer was taken and ruled wrong without any prompting for clarification or correction. Some fans are now accusing Jennings of playing favorites with the contestants.
You can see what some viewers are saying about the situation elbow. You can also see how de Guzman and Wagner have responded to the situation on social media.
I’m pissed at @KenJennings because was unfair tonight on @Jeopardy . He allows Luigi to correct his mistake, and cut off Harriet as she was correcting her mistake… again favoring Luigi! Very obvious to me!— heidi jo bean (@killerjobean) September 15, 2022
She Has the Right
After Luigi was allowed a correction, Harriet would have a right to be pissed. She could have been in theoretical striking distance. #Jeopardy— Joe10E (@e_joe10) September 14, 2022
Wow, is @jeopardy fixed?September 14, 2022
So the guy clearly said the wrong name. Ken asked him to say again, and he corrected himself with the right answer. Why didn’t Ken just say wrong? Why is this allowed?#Jeopardy— Mark Eaton (@Mark13Eaton) September 15, 2022
Survived Another Day
Survived another day on Planet #Jeopardy. Shout out to Winston and @harriet43342253—amazing competitors and even better people.— Luigi, Jeopardy Champion (@ouij) September 15, 2022
If I had been in Ken’s shoes, I probably would have cut Luigi off *brusquely* and moved on. But Ken hesitated, and in the moment, I saw him hesitate, and I kept talking.
The rule ended up on my side, but looking at it cold, I see how it could have ended up differently.— Luigi, Jeopardy Champion (@ouij) September 15, 2022
Luigi, so generous. We can’t second guess the umpire. Besides, it was MY brain that made me say “Angela “. I still have no idea where that came from and can only lay that on my own doorstep. $4000 mistake. You’re a gentleman.— Harriet Wagner (@Harriet43342263) September 15, 2022