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Ken Jennings' Latest Jeopardy! Stunt Has Longtime Fans Seeing Red

When Alex Trebek passed away in November 2020, he left unspeakably big shoes to fill. So big, in fact, that it took two hosts — Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik — to fill them. Though Art Fleming was the original host of "Jeopardy," Trebek's name became synonymous with the game show and took up the hosting mantle for 36 years beginning in 1984. Trebek was so devoted to his post that he continued filming "Jeopardy" in his final days before his death from pancreatic cancer.

After original frontrunner Mike Richards resigned amidst sexual misconduct allegations on "The Price Is Right," Jennings and Bialik — both of whom had previously served as guest hosts — were named permanent hosts in July 2022 (via Deadline). It was also agreed that the pair would alternate hosting duties, an arrangement that some "Jeopardy" fans find distracting. With "Jeopardy" Season 39 having just kicked off last week, Jennings is first in line to take the helm, and the contestant-turned-host is already in hot water.

Jennings encouraged a contestant to correct himself

In a new episode of "Jeopardy," new host Ken Jennings rattled fans when he did the unthinkable: he gave the contestant a second chance. Under the category "Cons," four-game champion Luigi de Guzman chose the $1,000 question: "Here's a typical early 19th-century landscape by this British painter." When De Guzman responded, "Who is Constant?" Jennings nudged him in the right direction: "Say it again." De Guzman then self-corrected with "Constable," bumping up his winnings to $6,200 (via New York Post).

The interaction sparked ire from devoted Jeopardy fans, especially when Jennings didn't afford the same leniency to another contestant, Harriet Wagner. When she attempted to switch her answer of "Angela LeGuin" to the correct Ursula LeGuin, Jennings was less charitable. Fans took to social media to condemn the new host, with one viewer fuming, "That was totally unfair and Ken Jennings (and the 'judges') were absolutely wrong not to give her credit for a correct answer. Is the #misogyny from #Jeopardy? Sure looks like it!" Another wrote, "So on #Jeopardy one contestant can correct an answer and another can not? Come on Ken, that just isn't right."

The trivia-loving "Jeopardy" viewers are a famously detail-oriented bunch, an ethos that Trebek carried in spades. Indeed, Trebek was fastidious in his role as host. If Jennings wants to get back in the fans' good graces, he has plenty of opportunities to do so: "Jeopardy" airs every weeknight at 7 p.m. on ABC.