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   PastimesKen Jennings, "Jeopardy!" Extraordinaire

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To: ~digs who wrote (27)9/15/2004 9:44:39 AM
From: richardred
   of 56
I know how much he won and how many shows. I won't post it for your sake. I will be watching the last one with great interest. The network and advertisers can't be happy the news leaked out.

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To: richardred who wrote (28)9/15/2004 10:01:39 AM
From: ~digs
   of 56
Thanks. Like you, I'd rather not know the outcome. It's like someone purposefully ruining the surprise ending to a much anticipated movie. Shame on those who feel the need to do so. They're just plain tacky.

The airing of Jeopardy could go live as a consequence, but I doubt it. The production of the show would have to change radically, and I don't think Alex would be happy with a new, more demanding schedule.

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To: ~digs who wrote (29)9/15/2004 10:16:15 AM
From: richardred
   of 56

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To: richardred who wrote (30)11/30/2004 6:46:42 AM
From: ~digs
   of 56
ugh... i just heard a tease on the local morning news which indicated that "yes, ken jennings finally lost. we won't tell you exactly when, but we will say that the streak ends this week. "

ah well, guess he will have racked up about 2.5 million before leaving

quite a feat...

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To: ~digs who wrote (31)11/30/2004 9:35:42 AM
From: richardred
   of 56
Yes it was. I suspect he will be back for the tournament of champions? I knew it was coming this week. I didn't want to spoil it for you. When we talked earlier.

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To: richardred who wrote (32)11/30/2004 10:08:26 AM
From: ~digs
   of 56
Yes and I appreciate your having not been the spoiler. Kind of a bummer that the local news had to do it anyway. I guess some things just can't remain under wraps these days...

It's okay. I will probably miss the show in which he gets beat. I'm likely to be busy during that timeslot for the remainder of the week.

Still, I'd be interested in seeing who this person is that can beat Ken? You'ld think that he or she would also have the ability to put together a good, long streak? or maybe Ken just plain blew it and/or flamed out.

We'll find out soon enough I'm sure.

I will post the final stats from once things are all said and done..

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To: ~digs who wrote (33)11/30/2004 10:16:13 AM
From: richardred
   of 56
I most likely will be watching. It's on during our lunch break at work. I still don't know what day this week, it will be.

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To: richardred who wrote (34)12/1/2004 1:10:22 AM
From: ~digs
   of 56
Jeopardy! genius meets his match

NEW YORK — The woman who ended Jeopardy! whiz Ken Jennings' 74-game winning streak is a California real estate agent whose own 8-year-old daughter asked for his autograph when they met.

But having an accountant-friend who's nearly impossible to reach at tax time paid off for Nancy Zerg — big time.

In a victory telecast today, Zerg beat a pop-culture icon who had achieved an aura of invincibility. Jennings won $2,520,700 (all figures U.S.), a record for a TV game show contestant, since his first appearance June 2.

During his streak, Jennings usually had opponents so thoroughly beaten that the Final Jeopardy question was meaningless to the outcome. But Zerg was within striking range, with $10,000 to Jennings' $14,400, at that point.

The category was business and industry. The clue: Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.

Jennings had to think. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Zerg had quickly written her reply.

"I was pretty sure before the music ended that was the ballgame," he said.

Her reply, "What is H&R Block?" was correct and gave her $14,001. Jennings' wrong guess, Federal Express, dropped him to $8,799.

Even before that, Zerg needed an unusual display of Jennings fallibility to stay in the game. He twice answered wrong on Daily Double questions, which give contestants a chance to make a big wager and increase their lead.

Maybe that's why he paused, ever so slightly, when asked in an interview today whether he had lost or been beaten. He then graciously gave Zerg credit.

"I would have dwelt on it if I missed something that I knew or didn't phrase it in the form of a question," said Jennings, a computer software engineer from Salt Lake City. "It was a big relief to me that I lost to someone who played a better game than me."

Zerg, a former actress who lives in Ventura, Calif., psyched herself up before the game by repeating to herself: "Someone's got to beat him sometime, it might as well be me."

Hanging out backstage with fellow contestants, she saw some Jennings opponents had essentially lost before the game. She heard one person say that it looked like he was playing for second, and another just wishing not to be humiliated.

"I heard another one say, `It's no great sin to lose to Ken Jennings,' and they went in and lost to Ken Jennings," she said. ``I thought, `That's no way to play the game."'

Some stats: Jennings' average daily haul was $34,063.51. He toyed with the previous daily record of $52,000 — tying it four times — before shattering it with a $75,000 win in Game 38. He gave more than 2,700 correct responses.

He combined an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, uncanny skill at sensing the precise instant to ring his buzzer and a killer competitive instinct hidden behind a baby-faced grin and polite manner.

It made many of the games boring. But Jeopardy! executives aren't complaining; ratings were up 22 per cent over the same period last time.

Jennings said he'd been thinking about walking away after some future milestone — 100 wins, perhaps, or $3 million or $4 million in winnings. He said there were about a dozen games where one reply made the difference between winning and losing.

"The fact that they had all fallen my way was beginning to worry me," he said, "because at some point the law of averages was going to kick in."

He wasn't prepared for how much he'd miss the daily competition, though.

"It didn't really hit me that was going to be the hard part," he said. "I thought the hard part would be the loss."

The loss is actually a distant memory and not really a secret: the show was taped in early September and news leaked right away. Video clips of his loss appeared on the Internet Monday.

Neither Jennings nor Zerg expect the record will be broken.

"It's not because things fell the right way," Zerg said. "It's because he's that good."

Jennings, a Mormon, will donate 10 per cent of his winnings to his church — and a European vacation is planned, "probably a really nice one." He'll hardly slip back into anonymity; he's visiting David Letterman and Regis Philbin this week, has a book deal and is open to any commercial sponsorship opportunities.

He's in a new tax bracket now, and H&R Block is making sure he'll always remember the company for other reasons: It has offered him free tax preparation for life.

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To: ~digs who wrote (35)12/1/2004 1:16:47 AM
From: ~digs
   of 56
(credit goes to Canadian statistician Andy Saunders)

Games Played: 75
Games Won: 74
Total Winnings: $2,522,700

Correct Answers: 2,642*
Answers Attempted: 2,881*
Percent Correct: .918*
* - not including Final Jeopardy!

First Ring-ins: 2,575
Pct. First of All Clues Read: .614

Daily Doubles Correct: 133
Daily Doubles Attempted: 160
Percent Correct: .831

Avg. Wager Per Daily Double: $3,810
Total Net Gain on Daily Doubles: $421,199
Average Net Gain per Daily Double: $2,632
Avg. Score after Jeopardy!: $9,936
Avg. Lead after Jeopardy!: $6,649
Avg. Score after Double Jeopardy!: $31,136
Avg. Lead after Double Jeopardy!: $22,977

Pct. of Games Locked Up after Double J!: .867 (65 of 75)

Final Jeopardy! Correct Answers: 51
Final Jeopardy! Attempts: 75
Percent Correct: .680
Avg. Final Jeopardy! Wager: $7,698

High Game: $75,000 (July 23)
Low Game: $8,799 (Nov. 9)

Avg. Daily Winnings: $34,064 (through last win Nov. 29)
More Jennings Daily Doubles Compiled by Joe Giannotti

$75,000: Top winnings by a contestant in series history (July 23).

$51,400: Top finish by a contestant at end of Double Jeopardy! (July 23).

$16,400: Highest finish at end of Jeopardy! round (Sept. 8)

$73,200: Largest winning margin in series history (July 23).

181: Number of days from Jennings' first appearance (June 2) to his last (Nov. 30)

45: Most number of correct responses in one show by Jennings (July 20, 23).

26: Fewest number of correct responses in one show by Jennings (June 7, 28; Oct. 26)

10: Longest string of correct Final Jeopardy! questions by Jennings (Oct. 11-15, 25-29).

3: Number of regular season champions who won more money in their entire run on Jeopardy! than Jennings' total on July 22-23 alone: Tom Walsh ($184,900), Brian Weikle ($149,200), Arthur Gandolfi ($137,000).

Nov. 3: Day Jennings broke television's all-time single-game winnings record, $2,197,000 (topping the $2.18 million of Dr. Kevin Olmstead on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire).

Nov. 4: Day Jennings broke television's all-time winnings record, $2,247,000 (topping the combined $2,205,900 Dr. Olmstead won on Millionaire and on Jeopardy!, May 25-27, 1994).

Nov. 6: Last day Final Jeopardy! was not mathematically inconsequential. Jennings led Ryan Cook $27,600-$16,600 before the finale.

Nov. 9: Last day Jennings trailed during Double Jeopardy! (to both Jeff Hoppes and Dave Oosterhuis).

Nov. 30: Last day Final Jeopardy! was not mathematically inconsequential. Jennings led Nancy Zerg $14,400-$10,000 before the finale.

94: Number of category sweeps by Jennings.

28: Record number of consecutive games in which Final Jeopardy! was mathematically inconsequential (streak ended Oct. 4 in a game vs. Jeff Suchard).

29: Number of categories in which Jennings was shut out.

16: High number of consecutive correct answers by Jennings (July 12 and July 21).

9: High number of consecutive correct answers in a game by a Jennings challenger (Matt Ottinger).

June 21, Sept. 7, Nov. 6, Nov. 9: Only days Jennings trailed going into Double Jeopardy! Opponents: Matt Ottinger, Rich Hartz, Ryan Cook, Jeff Hoppes, Dave Oosterhuis.

Nov. 9: Only day Jennings in third place going into Double Jeopardy! (opponents: Hoppes & Oosterhuis).

June 2: Closest competitor entering Final Jeopardy!: Julia Lazarus on his opening day, who trailed $20,000-$18,600.

June 25: Highest finish in series history by a losing contestant, $44,400 (Michael Cudahy).

14: Number of contestants who answered Final Jeopardy! correct when Jennings was wrong:

Day 2: Carrie Youngblood and Chad Kaihe
Day 8: Al Arsenault
Day 12: Deirdre Basile
Day 15: Kelly Parker
Day 16: Cathy Weber
Day 23: Mary Ann Eitler
Day 40: Rich Hartz
Day 46: David Fishbach
Day 51: Kathryn Dorminey
Day 53: Rev. Al Lindke
Day 64: Lisa Ellis
Day 67: Elizabeth Costello
Day 73: Andrew Smith
Day 75: Nancy Zerg

Nov. 30: Day of Ken Jennings' defeat, $14,401-$8,799, to Nancy Zerg, of Ventura, Cal.

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To: ~digs who wrote (36)12/1/2004 1:18:17 AM
From: ~digs
   of 56
Key Moments in the Jennings Juggernaut ;

JUNE 2: First appearance on Jeopardy! Only led fellow challenger Julia Lazarus $20,000-$18,600 going into Final Jeopardy! before winning.

JUNE 7, 28, OCT. 23: Fewest correct responses in a winning game by Jennings (26).

JUNE 10: Jennings wins $50,000 and tops the series' all-time money-winning record with $231,000.

JUNE 11: Jennings breaks record of Washington, D.C., writer Tom Walsh by becoming the show's first ever eight-game winner.

JUNE 21: Trailed midway through Double Jeopardy! to Michigan high school teacher and TV quiz bowl host Matt Ottinger before nailing the last eight answers and Final Jeopardy! to defeat Ottinger for his 14th straight win.

JUNE 25: In what may have been the greatest thriller finish in "Jeopardy!" history, Michael Cudahy of Los Angeles pushes Jennings to Final Jeopardy! Jennings wins his 18th game with $48,000 but Cudahy's $44,400 is a record in the game's 40-year history for a losing contestant. Unfortunately, for Cudahy, he leaves with only the $2,000 runner-up prize.

JULY 2: Challenger Mary Ann Eitler nails a Daily Double to go ahead of Jennings with 11 answers remaining but Jennings nails 10 of the last 11 in Double Jeopardy! to freeze out Eitler and win his 23rd straight.

JULY 12, 21: Jennings sets and ties the game's all-time record for consecutive correct questions (16).

JULY 13: Jennings becomes the series' first regular season millionaire. His 30th victory gives him $1,004,960.

JULY 20, 23: Jennings sets and ties the game's record for numbers of correct questions in a single game (45).

JULY 20: Jennings becomes the King of Syndicated Game Shows. He wins $29,200 for his 35th straight victory. His cumulative total of $1,164,660 makes Jennings the all-time money-winner in the history of syndicated television, topping former "Jeopardy!" Million $ Masters champion Brad Rutter's $1,155,200.

JULY 23: Biggest day of money records for Jennings. He sets the game's all-time single-day mark of $75,000 (topping Minnesotan Brian Weikle's $52,000), the all-time record of $51,400 at the end of Double Jeopardy! and the record margin of victory ($73,200). Jennings also busts the game's all-time adjusted five-day record with $221,200 (eclipsing New York Police Lt. Frank Spangenberg's adjusted-for-inflation mark of $205,194). The show goes on its annual six-week summer hiatus.

SEPT. 7: Jennings trails challenger Rich Hartz going into Double Jeopardy! and only manages to defeat Hartz by $2,499 to become television's second 40-game winner in history.

SEPT. 8: Jennings scores the game's highest-ever finish at the end of the opening Jeopardy! round, $16,400.

SEPT. 13: Jennings wins $45,000 for his 44th victory to break "Tic Tac Dough" legend Thom McKee's record of 43 consecutive wins on a television game show, a record held for 24 years. McKee e-mails congratulations to Jennings.

SEPT. 16: Jennings wins his 47th straight game and tops McKee's other record of 46 days on a single game show.

OCT. 4: A Jennings streak is snapped. Toxicologist Jeff Suchard takes Jennings to a thrilling finish before losing and snaps Jennings' record of 26 consecutive games mathematically locking up victory before Final Jeopardy!

OCT. 29: Jennings breaks another mark: 10 consecutive days with correct Final Jeopardy! questions.

NOV. 3: Jennings breaks television's all-time single-game winnings record with $2,197,000 (topping the $2.18 million of Dr. Kevin Olmstead on ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in April 2001). He needed 66 wins to do what Olmstead accomplished in one night.

NOV. 4: Jennings becomes television's overall top winner in history with $2,247,000 (topping Olmstead's combined total of $2,205,900 on "Millionaire" and "Jeopardy!").

NOV. 9: For the first time ever, Jennings is in third place after the Jeopardy! round and early in Double Jeopardy! Challengers Jeff Hoppes and Dave Oosterhuis offer the strongest one-two punch yet against Jennings but the phenom breaks his own record by nailing his last 18 attempts in Double Jeopardy! to lock up his 70th consecutive win.

NOV. 24: Jennings scores another milestone: his 2,500th correct question.

NOV. 29: Jennings scores his 74th consecutive victory and eclipses $2.5 million in winnings.

NOV. 30: Jennings is defeated by Ventura, Cal., real estate agent Nancy Zerg.

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