On Friday night, “Jeopardy!” fans have the chance to watch one of the most shocking episodes in the game show’s long history: The one where a question about H&R Block dethroned Ken Jennings after a 74-game winning streak.
Indeed, when it was revealed Jennings had written down the incorrect response, sounds of disbelief rang throughout the “Jeopardy!” studio.
Nancy Zerg — the new champ who Alex Trebek called “a giant killer” — was visibly taken aback. Her mouth dropped wide open when she realized what had happened.
That episode aired Nov. 30, 2004. It has not aired since that original broadcast, according to the official “Jeopardy!” website. The episode will air at 6:30 p.m. MT on KJZZ.
What to expect
Many people know about the clue that stumped Jennings: “Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.” (On missing the clue, Jennings has said: “I do my own taxes. I would have never thought of taxes.”)
But what happened before the episode’s final moments?
Going into Final Jeopardy, Jennings was in the lead. And there were only two contestants — not the usual three — standing at the podium.
Despite having the lead, Jennings had some trouble during the game and missed two Daily Doubles, according to the Deseret News.
When he lost, Jennings smiled through it all. He shook Zerg’s hand and the two hugged, marking the end of a “Jeopardy!” era. (Zerg would end up losing her next game.)
The audience members in the studio stood up and applauded Jennings, as host Alex Trebek said: “All good things have to come to an end.”
“I sort of feel like some career CIA man who’s finally quit the agency and doesn’t have to keep any secrets anymore,” Jennings told the Deseret News after that loss. “It’s been pretty hard, first to have to keep the secrets of all the wins and then to have to keep the secret of the loss. It’s a big relief to be done with secrets.”
“When the game aired, there was maybe a flash of disappointment realizing you really only get one chance in your life to play ‘Jeopardy!’ “ Jennings continued. “Mine has gone on far too long, but now it’s over. It’s sort of sad to realize I won’t be able to come back and have the same fun again.”
But 15 years after that legendary run, Jennings went back to the studio to tape the “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament, where he would go on to win $1 million against fellow “Jeopardy!” greats James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter. And he had a great time doing it.
“I had this sudden epiphany where I realized, ‘If this is going to be your last time playing ‘Jeopardy!’ just go enjoy it. It’s certainly going to be your last time playing with Alex (Trebek) there. Just enjoy every minute,’” Jennings recently told the Deseret News.