KEN Jennings has failed to rule on a Jeopardy! contestant’s Daily Double guess in a questionable moment on Tuesday’s episode.
The Jeopardy! host wouldn’t say that Elizabeth Devereaux was partially correct, and her regrettably gutsy wager may have cost the game.
The game show has invited back 27 previous unvictorious contestants for the first three weeks of its 40th season.
The big winner each week wins $35K and advances to the first-ever Champions Wild Card Tournament later in the fall.
Last week, Hari Parameswaran won the first slot in the subsequent tournament, and it was time to see who would join him.
Elizabeth, a middle school teacher from Lawrence, Kansas, faced Morgan Halvorsen, a chief copy editor from Silver Spring, Maryland, and Rob Kim, an attorney from Portland, Oregon.
Elizabeth initially lost in 38-time champ Matt Amodio’s first game, so she seemed well-suited to do well.
She came out swinging, doubling up on a Daily Double just before the first break.
After the first round, Elizabeth had $7,600, Morgan $2,000, and Rob $1,400 (after a score change as he was at first in the red) – and Ken remarked: “Elizabeth’s got a big lead!”
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She kept going strong in Double Jeopardy and had $13,200 to Rob’s $3,000 and Morgan’s $2,000 when she landed on the second Daily Double.
She decided to wager a sizable $5000, to which Ken said: “Wow, pretty big wager.”
‘SORRY, THAT’S JUST TOO LONG’
The clue read: “RFD, short for this, began in 1896; previously, about 65% of Americans lived in the ‘R’ area & had to pick up mail at the P.O.”
Elizabeth quickly responded: “What is Rural?”
However, there was complete silence, and the Daily Double clue vanished from the screen as Ken didn’t say anything.
She was left with a confused expression and the host didn’t rule for at least five seconds.
Elizabeth nervously laughed and said: “Oh, ‘Rural…’” before giving up, and the buzzer ran out.
Ken finally said: “Sorry, I think that’s just too long; we needed the full RFD, it’s ‘Rural Free Delivery’.”
She dropped to $8200, and struggled after that- while Rob made a huge comeback, finding the last Daily Double, wagering $2000 and getting it.
Going into Final Jeopardy, the game was razor-thin with Rob at $9,800, Elizabeth at $9,400 and Morgan at $5,200.
Final Jeopardy under “Historic Geography” read: “Of Spain’s colonial possessions in the Americas, this 3,400 square mile one in the Antilles never gained independence, but did change hands.”
Morgan and Elizabeth were incorrect while Rob got it as “Puerto Rico”, jumping $9001 to win with $18,801.
FANS REACT TO ROUGH RFD MOMENT
Fans were impressed Rob jumped from last to first in the final moments but felt for Elizabeth even if it was unclear if Ken could have said “be more specific” to help her cause.
One Reddit user wrote: “Elizabeth had it in the bag but lost it on that USPS Daily Double.”
Another wrote: “I thought for sure Elizabeth had that, dang. But great comeback by Rob!”
A third argued: “Not knowing the final two words for RFD cost Elizabeth $10,000 and likely a big lead going into Final Jeopardy.
“But it wouldn’t have been a lock-game. Rob, with his standard cover + $1 wager, would’ve still won with his sole get.”
A fourth knocked: “Dumb wager by Elizabeth,” while a fifth argued as there were around 14 triple-stumpers: “The clues in this game felt exceptionally bad to me.”
HOW THE SECOND CHANCE TOURNAMENT WORKS
Each tournament week starts with three qualifying matches of Season 37 contestants instead of new players.
On Monday’s episode, Deana Bolio advanced despite an awkward misruling in which Ken admitted he “inadvertently accepted” her incorrect response.
She, Rob, and Wednesday’s winner will face off in a Thursday/Friday final.
That winner (as well as one more next week) advances to the next tournament, Champions Wildcard.
That will air directly afterward and pit the winners from this series against brief Season 37 and 38 champions- the lineup is yet to be announced.
The subsequent eight-week tournament’s price is a ticket to the currently postponed Tournament of Champions.
This takes fans into December, but given the writer’s strikes, what will air after that is unannounced.
EVERYTHING TO KNOW ABOUT SEASON 40
Jeopardy!’s monumental Season 40 premiered on September 11 and will run until July 26, 2024.
She bowed out in solidarity with the strikers, a big shakeup since she and Ken were tapped to split hosting after Alex Trebek‘s death in 2020.
That’s far from the only big change to the highly anticipated new season.
Aside from not having new contestants and no Mayim, the other major change is the clues.
The game show is re-using questions from past seasons while without its writers.
Showrunner Michael Davies explained on the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast that it “wouldn’t be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance” on the show with material that isn’t original or that was written pre-strike.
“The material that we’re gonna be using is a combination of material that our WGA writers wrote before the strike, which is still in the database and material that is being redeployed from multiple, multiple seasons of the show.”
Davies also announced a $1000 bump in consolation prizes and said that he admires and misses the show’s beloved writers.
“If you don’t have time to listen, here’s the executive summary of today’s announcement,” James, 39, wrote, sharing a link to the podcast episode.
“1:00-2:00: Jeopardy’s writers are invaluable and we couldn’t produce the show without them,” he continued.
“2:00-15:00: Here is how we will produce the upcoming season without them.”
Meanwhile, the 2023 Tournament of Champions will not happen not until the strikes are over.
Several Season 39 champs, including Ray LaLonde, Cris Pannullo, Hannah Wilson, and Ben Chan, said they would not participate in the TOC until the strikes are concluded.
Ken has faced backlash from some fans and former players for his decision to cross the picket line.
Ken has kept relatively quiet on the subject besides resharing a statement from the show’s executive producer referencing how the late Alex continued hosting during the 2007 to 2008 writers’ strike.
Mayim is also being replaced by Ken on Celebrity Jeopardy!, which airs on ABC for the entire next season.
Her exit marks Ken’s first time hosting all programming for Jeopardy! and she won’t return until the strikes and scheduled tournaments end, or at least until 2024.