Finding a suitable successor for Alex Trebek as the Jeopardy host has been a challenge since he passed away in 2020. Among the various celebrities attempting to fill his irreplaceable role, Ken Jennings has been a popular choice, co-hosting with Mayim Bialik. Recently, a memorable moment from Jennings' time as a contestant resurfaced humorously.
For those who may have forgotten, Ken Jennings is a Jeopardy legend, having played in 74 consecutive episodes and winning a staggering $2.5 million. This impressive streak occurred over the span of just six months in 2004, securing him the second-longest winning run in Jeopardy history.
The Final Jeopardy Answer Of Jennings
So how did his historic run come to an end back in 2004? He answered the Final Jeopardy question incorrectly. The clue was: "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only 4 months a year." His incorrect guess was FedEx, which brought his winning streak to an end. The correct answer, given by contestant Nancy Zerg, was H&R Block, leaving her elated and Jennings regretful.
Almost two decades have elapsed since that episode. While one would assume Jennings has come to grips with his error by now, it resurfaced during his recent stint as host. The Final Jeopardy clue this time was: "Adjusted for inflation, the nightly rate this company put in its name in 1962 is now $51." Although it wasn't the toughest Final Jeopardy question ever, only 2 out of 3 contestants managed to correctly answer—Motel 6.
The origin of Motel 6 is straightforward. In 1960, two commercial real estate developers found themselves inspired during a family road trip. They realized there were few affordable, yet quality lodging options available for leisure travelers. Driven by this insight, they founded a motel chain that would offer rooms at just $6 a night while maintaining comfort and cleanliness. Fast forward to today, and the rates have changed significantly, subject to demand. The brand now stands as the largest owner/operator in the U.S. economy lodging sector.
The Witty And Unexpected Surprise
The contestant who missed the mark on the Final Jeopardy question was also the front-runner and ultimate victor—Brian Chang. To be clear, Chang knew the correct answer; however, his lead was so substantial that his win was already guaranteed. So, for a touch of levity, he penned down H&R Block—the very answer that had ended Jennings' run!
As host, Jennings saved Chang's answer for last. Chang visibly nodded his head as the answer was read, acknowledging the inaccuracy. Although momentarily surprised, Jennings handled it with the same professionalism that has endeared him to fans. He quickly said, "I know from experience H&R Block is sometimes the right answer but not today. Even though you brought back some bad memories for me, you're still going to go home with $13,201." It was indeed one of the more unforgettable Final Jeopardy rounds.