Jeopardy! Allows a Rare Correction Midshow, Sparking Confusion and Accusations from Fans

Ken Jennings

this Jeopardy! host has found himself in fans’ sights after a controversial ruling in his first week on the job. Who is Ken Jennings?

Just days after the newly appointed co-host kicked off season 39, his rulings (or lack thereof) have come under scrutiny.

Jennings, 48, allowed contestant Luigi de Guzman to casually correct an answer on Wednesday’s episode.

De Guzman was first to answer a question under the “Cons” category. A painting was shown on the screen, accompanied by the clue: “Here’s a typical 19th-century landscape by this British painter.”

“Who’s Constant?” de Guzman answered.

“Say it again,” Jennings responded.

“Sorry, who’s Constable?” de Guzman replied, and his answer was accepted.

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Later in the show, however, contestant Harriet Wagner had a similar flub when referencing a late science fiction author with her answer “Who is Angela LeGuin — sorry, Ursula LeGuin.” Jennings interrupted and ruled her answer incorrect.

“Yes, Harriet, you remembered that her name was Ursula, but I had already begun ruling against you when you began correcting yourself,” the host explained. (The Jeopardy! website states, “Contestants may change their responses as long as neither the host nor the judges have made a ruling.”)

De Guzman ultimately won his fourth consecutive night, and Wagner placed third in what turned out to be a tight game, with only $700 separating her from de Guzman and $100 between her and second-place finisher Winston Li.

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Fans took to Twitter to express their feelings, with some suggesting Jennings’ ruling showed gender bias.

“Gosh, jeopardy — why not have a certain amount of time to answer? Harriet answered her revised answer of Ursula at least as quickly as Luigi was allowed to correct his response from Constant to Constable a few minutes earlier,” one Twitter user suggested.

Another said the ruling “just isn’t right.”

“#Jeopardy why did Ken Jennings let one contestant (male) change a wrong answer, but ruled against another (female), even though she said the correct answer within the time limit? Tonight’s episode was an unfair runaway because of that ruling on the last answer in double jeopardy,” another viewer wrote.

And another fan asked“Wow, is @jeopardy fixed? Why is Luigi allowed to correct himself, but Harriet isn’t?”

one dissenter kept it simple: “YOU SUCK, KNOW JENNINGS!”

Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings

Dia Dipasupil/Getty

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Jennings, who has hosted Jeopardy! previously, seems to be still finding his stride since he and Mayim Bialik were announced as the show’s news co-hosts in July.

The search for a replacement had been underway since beloved longtime presenter Alex Trebek died of stage four pancreatic cancer at age 80 in November 2020. Executive producer Mike Richards was initially named the new host, though last August he stepped down before leaving the show entirely in the wake of fan outrage over the selection at the same time as sexist comments that he made on his podcast in 2013 resurfaced.

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When Jennings and Bialik, 46, were named new co-hosts, Executive Producer Michael Davies’ announcement also confirmed they had signed long-term contracts with Jeopardy!

Jennings’ current hosting stint will run through December, while Bialik will host Celebrity Jeopardy! and the Jeopardy! National College Championship.

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Jeopardy! airs weeknights (check local listings).

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