Make it a true daily disaster, Alex. Jeopardy! contestants often practice for years before appearing on the quiz show, but they sometimes still find themselves in the middle of a wild moment.
Even Ken Jennings, who holds the longest winning streak ever on Jeopardy!, has flubbed an answer or two. During his original run in 2004, one of his most memorable mistakes happened when he was answering a question in the “Tool Time” category.
“This term for a long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker,” read late host Alex Trebek. Jennings, who had a commanding lead at the time, rang in with the response, “What’s a hoe?” As the audience began to laugh, Trebek quipped, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! They teach you that in school in Utah, huh?” (The Chase cohost graduated from the state’s Brigham Young University.)
The Planet Funny author later found himself at the center of a Jeopardy! controversy when some of his old tweets resurfaced just before he began his first stint as a guest host for the show following Trebek’s November 2020 death. “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair,” read one tweet Jennings posted in 2014.
The former software engineer apologized for the posts, saying that they “worked as jokes” in his mind but didn’t read so well on screen. “Sometimes I said dumb things in a dumb way and I want to apologize to people who were (rightfully!) offended,” he tweeted in December 2020. “It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter; I screwed up, and I’m truly sorry.”
Jeopardy! proceeded with Jennings’ gig as a guest host, but the Wall Street Journal later reported that the tweets may have cost him a job as Trebek’s permanent replacement. In August 2021, Sony Pictures announced that executive producer Mike Richards would take over as the syndicated game show’s permanent host, but Richards resigned days later after multiple of his own controversies.
After Richards’ departure, Mayim Bialik, who had been announced as the host for primetime and spin-off specials, began filling in as the show’s interim host. The Big Bang Theory alum has since alternated with Jennings, who is still a consulting producer on the show. As of April 2022, Sony has still not announced a permanent host for the syndicated program.
Keep scrolling for a look back at some of the wildest and most controversial moments in Jeopardy! history.