Make it a real daily disaster, Alex. Jeopardy! Contestants often practice for years before appearing on the quiz, but sometimes they still find themselves in the middle of a wild moment.
Even Ken Jenningswho has the longest winning streak ever Jeopardy!, missed an answer or two. During his initial run in 2004, one of his most memorable mistakes occurred while answering a question in the “Tool Time” category.
“This term for a long-handled garden tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker,” read the late host Alex Trebek. Jennings, who was in charge at the time, answered, “What’s a hoe?” As the audience began to laugh, Trebek quipped, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! That’s what they taught you in school in Utah, huh?” (The Chase cohost graduated from Brigham Young State University.)
The Planet Funny the author later found himself in the center of a Jeopardy! controversy when some of his old tweets resurfaced shortly before he began his first stint as a guest host on the show following Trebek’s death in November 2020. “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair,” read one tweet that Jennings published in 2014.
The former software engineer apologized for the posts, saying they “worked as jokes” in his mind but didn’t read as well on screen. “Sometimes I’ve said stupid things in a stupid way and I want to apologize to the people who were (rightly!) offended,” he tweeted in December 2020. “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter; I screwed up and I’m really sorry.”
Jeopardy! continued Jennings’ gig as guest host, but he did The Wall Street Journal he later reported that the tweets may have cost him his job as Trebek’s permanent replacement. In August 2021, Sony Pictures announced that executive producer Mike Richards would take over as the syndicated game’s full-time host, but Richards resigned a few days later after multiple controversies of his own.
After Richards’ departure, Mayim Bialik, who had been announced as the host of the prime-time specials and spin-off, began filling in as the show’s interim host. The The Big Bang Theory alum has since alternated with Jennings, who is still a consulting producer on the show. In July 2022 Diversity reported that the dynamic duo will continue to share hosting duties.
Keep scrolling to look back at some of the craziest and most controversial moments Jeopardy! history.