Ken Jennings may have finally lost on King World Productions’ Jeopardy!, but he won’t be gone for long.
Executive producer Harry Friedman is planning a 15-week "super tournament" in which 150 of the show’s top-scoring, undefeated, five-time champions will face off.
The tournament will winnow it down to two players who will face Jennings in the finals this May, playing for a grand prize of $2 million.
"Ever since Ken started his amazing run, people have been speculating on how some of the past Jeopardy! players would do against him. By scheduling this tournament, we’re answering that question. I’m calling this competition, ‘The Quest for Ken,’" said host Alex Trebeck.
Among the invitees will be winners of the show’s Tournament of Champions, College Championship and Teen Tournament.
Jennings remarkable 75-game winning streak only happened because the show changed the rules in 2003, allowing winners to stick around as long as they kept winning.
Previously, the limit was five games and out. "The 2003 rule change … raised the question about how other five-time champions might have played under this [new] rule.
This tournament is an opportunity to give those past champions another chance to shine," Friedman says.
Jennings' string of victories proved a ratings windfall for the already powerhouse game show.
Jennings actually lost several months ago, but the show was stretched out with various special tournaments so that his run could extend through the November sweep, when ad rates are set.
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.
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