With 75 appearances on the nationally syndicated game show Jeopardy, Ken Jennings earned $2,520,700.00 over 74 consecutive wins — all-time record winnings for a television game show contestant, and a tie for most consecutive contestant appearances on a TV game show. Until Tuesday, Jennings’ only breaks throughout his streak were for season hiatuses and special tournaments.
A change in Jeopardy’s rules at the start of the 20th season in September of 2003 allows undefeated contestants to appear an unlimited number of times. Since no one had beaten Jennings, he continued to win money and further engrave his name in the record books. He also had many opportunities to render his name on Jeopardy’s famous blue player ID screen.
Jennings had taken to scribing - make that drafting - his name in a myriad of styles, from scrabble pieces to something that looks a bit like Milton Glaser’s Baby Teeth: Jennings changed the appearance of his name for every game.
Below are a few of the ways Jennings had written his name in his successful run:
Microsoft WordArt Ken
Baby Teeth Ken
Optimistic “I’m gonna win $2.5 million on this show” Ken
Spinal Tap Ken
50’s Car/Appliance/Camper Emblem Ken
Balloon Animal Ken
Keith Haring Ken
Star Trek: The Next GeneraKen
With the end of Jennings’ winning streak, this may mean the end of well-crafted names of Jeopardy contestants. One can only hope others will be inspired as they get their go at the blue screen.
P.S. — For those of you dying to know, Jennings lost in “Final Jeopardy” to an answer of “Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal, white-collar employees work only four months a year.” The question was “What is H&R Block?” but Jennings responded with “What is FedEx?” He lost by $5,602.
To hear the defeat of the Jeopardy master, you can click here.
Thanks to Ken Jennings’ Fans’ Journal for the images.
Andrew Twigg lives in Chicago where he teaches and runs envisid, a consultancy for visual media.