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Television Media

Ken Jennings Gets a New Challenge 266

insomniakxz writes "Producers of Jeopardy announced Tuesday a "Super Tournament," which will pit Jennings in a final match against two survivors of a competition between nearly 150 past five-time winners with a prize of $2 million. Host Alex Trebek called the tournament the "quest for Ken.""
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Ken Jennings Gets a New Challenge

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  • Ken is smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 463190 ) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:37AM (#11216763) Homepage
    He not only knows just about everything, but he's also remarkably good at putting together the pieces and figuring out a tough question that he didn't already know.

    I remember one question "After several decades off it, works by this man seen here have returned to The New York Times bestsellers list in 2003"

    He didn't recognize the picture at all, but figured it might be Tolkein given the LOTR craze (nobody else got it). That's damn quick thinking, and he answers a lot of questions that way, i.e. without knowing the answer beforehand - he works through trivia questions the way you'd work a math problem. Most jeopardy players rely solely on their memory banks, and that's how he beats them.

    • He's fast at pushin the button as well.
    • Re:Ken is smart (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rightcoast ( 807751 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:50AM (#11216829) Homepage
      I was on Jeopardy when they came through Miami about 8 years ago or so. I lost bad. This sounds so stupid but, I am considered by everyone I know to be the "smartest" person they know. Even with trivia and general knowledge, as much as computers. It is hard to think that quickly, under so much stress. Not to mention the other two people are the smartest person thier friends know. What Ken Jennings did was amazing.
      What are the odds they put on the best there is and ever will be, right after the end of the 5 day format? (any stat hounds wanna take a stab?)
      I truly doubt that the others stand a chance against him. I know I wouldn't, and I made the show.

      I should have studied foods that start with the letter Q.
      • Re:Ken is smart (Score:5, Interesting)

        by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:11AM (#11216922) Homepage
        Knowing the answer and pressing the buzzer isn't always enough. A friend of mine was on recently and lost a question because she asked, "What is a glass harmonium," instead of, "What is a glass harmonica?" She told me later that she knew the answer at the time, but the wrong word just came out.
        • Re:Ken is smart (Score:3, Interesting)

          by adavidw ( 31941 )
          I saw that one.

          I thought that was a weird question because harmonium's such a less common word. If you were guessing at that clue, you'd say
          "harmonica", because that's a word that would spill out of your brain faster. If you actually used the word "harmonium", that would seem to indicate to me actual knowledge of a correct question, since that word would be harder to come up with otherwise. Your friend using "harmonium" and being wrong just didn't sit well with me. It didn't make sense. I'm glad to hear th
      • I should have studied foods that start with the letter Q.

        What is a quacker-jack?
      • At this point, you think he might be a seasoned veteran at the game.

        That in itself probably snow balled his jeopardy career.

        After a while I wonder if he even worried about making any more money. I really would like to know if he ever felt the pressure was just gone.
        • Re:Ken is smart (Score:2, Interesting)

          by macdaddy ( 38372 ) *
          At some point if I were in Ken's position I'd like to think that I would start playing for charities. Ie, today I'm playing for the Doctor's Without Borders foundation. Or I'm playing for the ACLU or such and such cancer research fund. Then again I could also take the money I would be giving to charity and invest it. Then I could give them (and probably many others) even more money in a few years or every couple of years based soley on the growth. I started investing in the stock market in July and I'v
          • The Mormon church already takes a huge chunk of his earnings. They made a cool $200,000 from his initial run on the show. That money would be much better spent on, as you mentioned, the ACLU or cancer research.
          • You far overestimate how much $2.5 million is. After taxes and the cut his church gets hes going to have somewhere around 1 million. That isn't enough to retire on.
            • youre crazy, spoiled, or both. i make $7k/yr. If i had 1mil in the bank in a plain old savings account earning a measly 2% i could retire and make triple what im making now.

              people who 'barely make ends meet' on 50k/yr piss me off to no end.
              • 7k a year is less than half minimum wage. I have no idea how you live.

                Oh wait yes I do.. You either live in an extremely poor country or you live off your family or government support.

                Most likely you live off the taxes of those of us 'spoiled' people who actually make a living for ourselves. Don't think your jealousy is going to make anyone feel guilty.

                • I live in the USA and live off nothing but my own income. 7k a year is minimum wage, 27 hours a week. It pays rent, water, electric, food, and gas to get to work/school. No government support aside from subsidization of my student loan interest ($150/yr?), no family (ha!) support at all. Like I said, youre spoiled. If you were a child I would say spoiled rotten, but that doesnt sound right applied to someone who presumably works for a living. If you are making more than me (or more than double what i
      • >>This sounds so stupid but, I am considered by everyone I know to be the "smartest" person they know.

        Yes it does, especially since this is slashdot, and everyone you know probably amounts to about 3 people. ;)

        -- Josh
      • How do you know he is the best. As the article states there have been 150 five time winners. All of whom were prevented from going until they were beaten.

        I am going to laugh my ass off if he gets crushed in this thing.

    • I can't hope to comment intelligently in this discussion since I'm only smrt smart, but shouldn't this newly-discovered natural resource be busy working on cold fusion or causing world peace with his sheer brainpower?

      Oh, wait, he's going to be a TV star and that trumps all.
      • busy working on cold fusion or causing world peace with his sheer brainpower?

        You have to give him the answer rather than a question.

      • Welcome to 2004 (soon to be 2005) we dont aspire to create or discover. Only repeat what has already been created or discovered.
        • Where have you been for the last decade or so? Survivor, Gilligans Island, Fear Factor, etc, etc, etc, ... ? Then let's not forget all the pre-packaged "music" and "movie" talent out there.

          I just sit in awe at the levels of stupidy media execs will stoop to do what they think is the "next big thing". Oh I know, let's get 10 guys, put wigs on them, call it "reality tv" and then see what they do as strutting females...

          oh I know better, let's put no talent teenagers on a stage, enough synth to make the wi
      • you really think a proclivity for answering random bits of trivia and a talent for buzzing in before your opponents is a sign of a truly transcendent intelligence? i'm as amazed as anyone by his feat, but putting him in charge of something like that would be like assuming michael jordan would make a great president of a basketball team just because he could dunk.
    • Why is this? I watched maybe 3-4 different shows with him winning, and for a lot of the answers he gave the correct term, but mispronounced it entirely. Often they had to rely on the judges to accept the answer even though he mis-spoke it.

      It doesn't seem like he actually *knew* the answers, or what they were talking about, but rather had some photographic image of the answer pop in his head that he didn't even comprehend.

      It was truely strange to watch someone answer these questions in a second flat, mispr

  • ratings (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NetMagi ( 547135 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:38AM (#11216771)
    ken jennings was the best thing to happen to jeopardy in years. . .

    what a way to grab more ratings :)
    • Meh, no disrespect to the parent poster, but is it really +4 Insightful to say that a television show is doing something in an attempt to get ratings?
      • s it really +4 Insightful to say that a television show is doing something in an attempt to get ratings?

        Is a game show "stuff that matters"?

  • by UnCivil Liberty ( 786163 ) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:39AM (#11216778)
    They went with the wrong theme, clearly they should pit Ken Jennings against Sean Connery and Burt Reynolds... er.. Turd Ferguson.

    "I've gotta ask you about 'the Penis Mightier'"
    "No, no, no, no, no, that is 'the Pen is Mightier'"
    • by ( 463190 ) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:48AM (#11216821) Homepage
      For laughs at work we'll occasionally shout things at each other including:
      • A leather glove!
      • I'll take the rapists for 200!
      • I'm the cock of the walk!
      • The day is mine!
      lol.... best SNL skit ever.

      Of course there's also "AFLAC!" followed by "AFLAC ACK!" followed by "AFLAC FIN ACK!" if you've got nothing else to say. We even have one of their stuffed ducks (but no supplemental insurance).
      • "An Album Cover"

        Anal bum cover

        And of course:

        Alex Trebek: And finally, Sean Connery's also here let's move on to Double Jeopardy where the categories -

        Sean Connery: Not so fast Trebek.

        Alex Trebek: I really thought that was going to work.

        Sean Connery: Well, you were wrong, you mountebank. I pose a conundrum to ya, I riddle if you will

        Alex Trebek: I don't want to hear it.

        Sean Connery: What's the difference between you and a mallard with a cold? One's a sick duck and I can't remember how it ends, but yo
    • "ASIA"

      (those who know the episode will get it)
    • "I'm onto you Trebek!" And let's not forget the Warcraft 3 unit quote that one dwarf had (captured the Sean Connery voice perfectly).
  • Ken Jennings is a... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sharkb8 ( 723587 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:46AM (#11216805)
    Ken is a Jeopardy producer's wet dream. I imagine weeks before he lost, Trebek, et al. were trying to figure out how to wring more rating from the lowly Mormon kid.

    They might as well just write him the check and have him dress up in a monkey outfit and dance around on stage for a couple of hours.

    Maybe they could rip off Ben Stein and create a pilot for "Win Ken Jenning's Money". Oh, and make it for more than $3K a show.
    • by Cylix ( 55374 ) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:19AM (#11216966) Homepage Journal
      Hell I just liked watching Ben Stein.

      Is he really that bright?

      You do have to ask yourself that question...

      I want to see Ken and Ben battle it out...

      Maybe they get to play with their own money and it's a winner take all? I would actually watch that show. As it stands now, when I watch Jeopardy I just think to myself, "Jesus /I'm/ getting old... look at his grey hair."

      • Well, he may or may not be "that bright," but he happened to be around the White House when a lot of the Big News was going down. He happened to be a speech writer and lawyer for Nixon (now there's a tough gig).
      • by Hangtime ( 19526 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @10:00AM (#11218218) Homepage
        Ben Stein Bio:
        Undergrad in Econ from Columbia - Honors
        Yale Law School - Valedictorian
        Speech Writer and Lawyer for Nixon
        Columnist and Editorial Writer for the WSJ
        Written seven novels and nine non-fiction books
        Commercial, TV, and Movie actor

        And in Ferris Bueller's Day Off that is him just a lecture from one of his classes, none of it was scripted

        Answering your question, yes he is that bright. :)
        • You forgot to mention his appearance in a video game. He was in Toonstruck. :)
        • In fairness, I figure any question regarding American politics in the 1970s is a freebie given that Mr Stein was a white house insider. I mean, like, come on!

          Stein's also shows a distinct weakness for non-European/American history. I've seen him miss obvious questions based on Canadian, African, Australian, and South American history.

          Don't get me wrong, Stein's knowledge is encyclopedic and deeper than Jenning's. But Jenning would still win head-to-head on Jeopardy.

    • by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @04:06AM (#11217159) Homepage Journal
      have him dress up in a monkey outfit and dance around on stage for a couple of hours.

      Can't do that. Steve Ballmer's lawyers would be on him like flies on shit.

  • Who else? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinoflight ( 517245 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:47AM (#11216811) Homepage Journal
    I'm just wondering, does anyone think another contestant has a chance?

    Ken went for so many days because he's smart... after he's played for over a month of shows he has such a big advantage. Other players might have been on 10 shows at most (tournaments), but they didn't have the exposure Ken did.

    Someone would have to be a lot better to beat Ken, but I haven't seen other contestants play.
    • Re:Who else? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Coward, Anonymous ( 55185 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:03AM (#11216890)
      does anyone think another contestant has a chance?

      I do. If Ken had been on the show in an earlier year he would have left after his 5 day run and few people would know who he is. The question is how many people like him did come in earlier years, had their 5 day run, and left without much press or fanfare? My guess is at least one. Maybe he is the best player the show has ever had, but that would be pretty coincidental for the best player ever to come on shortly after they did away with the 5-day elimination rule.

      Even if he is the best ever, he has gotten a number of Final Jeopardy questions wrong. Typically when that happened he had double the money of second place contestant so it didn't matter. It seems unlikely he'll be in that position in the tournament, so as to the question of whether anyone else has a chance then the answer is yes, even if Ken is the best ever, for the simple reason that he might miss the Final Jeopardy question.
      • If Ken had been on the show in an earlier year he would have left after his 5 day run and few people would know who he is.

        I agree. I happen to know the first undefeated 5-day champion from when the show first came back on the air. Nobody's heard of her, nobody remembers her but she doesn't care. She just gets on with her life and doesn't worry about it. She's also glad she never came up against Ken, because he's so fast and so sharp.

      • Isn't that what this show is supposed to determine? Taking the top ranking champions from the past tournaments of champions shows and putting them up against Ken?
        Granted it won't be all-inclusive, but it should answer the question in relative terms whether he really is that much better than everyone else.
      • I agree with your reasoning that recongnizing ending the 5 day limit is a relatively recent thing. That said, I think the parent post you replied to makes an exellent point--by virtue of him playing for as long as he did, the experience and practice itself gives him a signifigant advantage even if there are others who are as smart. Certainly not insurmountable but as he said others will probably have to be more than a little smarter to beat him.

        Finally, aside from being an exellent competitor because of

  • by TheAdventurer ( 779556 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:47AM (#11216813)
    Ken Jennings was not available for comment, as he was busy sorting his money by the years in which the individual bills were printed. He then went about adding another 1000 movies to his list of favorite movies.
  • Survivors? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nine Tenths of The W ( 829559 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:48AM (#11216815)
    I know TV networks are always desperate for ratings, but isn't this going a bit far?
    • if people watch it that's what the want.

      it just is that sad. people DO want to watch the survivor crap. people WANT bold and the beautiful. people WANT baywatch reruns. people WANT all that crap that some people say that the tv execs just ram down our throats.

      if it's crap - just don't watch it. ignore it. that's how you battle that kind of shit that's competiting for your attention.
    • Yes, parent is funny, and yes, of course this is fiction, but did you see Battle Royale []? Highly recommended.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:48AM (#11216816)
    Host Alex Trebek called the tournament the "quest for Ken."

    But in the year 2020, people will look back upon the event and remember it as "the day of ownage by that young Mormon dude."
  • by Albinofrenchy ( 844079 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:48AM (#11216820)
    I'm fairly convinced the man is a cyborg with a constant uplink to google. One good way to test is to ask about french military victories, which would make Ken say "What is 'French military defeats.'" If you don't get that joke... It's not a hit on the french, just look it up.
  • by ikewillis ( 586793 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:48AM (#11216822) Homepage
    ...than "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Finally, we'll see people winning millions by answering... "answers" like "These particles are either baryonic or fermionic" rather than bullshit questions like "What is the capital of California? A) Los Angeles B) San Diego C) Sacremento D) Dollywood"
  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:52AM (#11216843) Homepage
    Getting a female to talk to him without looking at his wallet.
  • Will the Quest for Ken be anything at all like the Quest for Fire? Will there be more dialog?
  • by macdaddy ( 38372 ) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @04:10AM (#11217173) Homepage Journal
    I was watching a WWTBAM episode back when that was happening. It was a celebrity show that night. I remember they asked a Fastest Finger question where they screwed up the answer. Basically it was 'put these movie titles in chronological order based on the day of the week mentioned in their title.' One of the choices was "Any Given Sunday". I don't recall the rest. When the answers were tallied that movie however was listed last in the answer (ie, they said the week started on Monday instead of Sunday). A "week" is defined in the Gregorian calendar system as "a period of seven consecutive days starting on Sunday." And of course the Gregorian calendar is used throughout most of the modern world. Opps. A small mistake on their part. I'm actually quite surprised that simple of a mistake got through their editors and research dept. I've never seen a mistake quite so simple on Jeopardy before. They probably put out a lot more effort than WWTBAM did.
  • Ken Jennings would be the man.
  • Anybody get the pun? (Score:5, Informative)

    by proggoddess ( 182061 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @09:17AM (#11217990)
    "The quest for Ken" is a bit of a word-play. According to the online Merriam Webster dictionary, ken is "the range of perception, understanding, or knowledge."

    Ha ha ha! Alex Trebek kills me!
  • by fritter ( 27792 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @09:43AM (#11218119)
    What is news about Ken Jennings doing on a "News for Nerds" site?!?!?

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson