Greatest Jeopardy! Player of All Time
Jeopardy! Co-Host & Best-Selling Author
When it comes to quiz shows, no one has done it better than Ken Jennings. The former Utah software engineer rose to fame in 2004 when he spent six months as a contestant on Jeopardy! His 75-game streak and $2.52 million in winnings are still Jeopardy! records today. In 2020, he was named the show’s “Greatest of All Time” after winning a prime-time tournament against legendary champs James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter and earned an additional $1 million. In 2022, he signed on as permanent co-host for the show with Mayim Bialik.
Jennings’ success should come as no surprise. A native of Seattle, he spent 15 years in South Korea and Singapore. His father worked as an attorney there. The only lifeline to American pop culture at the time was the Armed Forces Network, where he watched Jeopardy! after school every afternoon. He dreamed of being on the show. But as life got busy, the fantasy faded away.
Ken Jennings returned to the U.S. and while at Brigham Young University, he captained the university’s successful quiz bowl team and began writing and editing questions for National Academic Quiz Tournaments. He noticed a lot of his friends and acquaintances from the world of quiz bowl appearing on games shows — allowing them to pay off student loans or buy cars with their winnings. His long-ago dream of competing on Jeopardy! was revived. And in 2004 that fantasy became a reality.
In the wake of Jennings’ life-changing Jeopardy! reign, he appeared on TV shows from The Tonight Show to The Simpsons to Sesame Street. Barbara Walters named him one of the 10 most interesting people of the year. Jennings is the author of 12 books, including New York Times bestsellers like Maphead, about geography obsessives, and Because I Said So, debunking parenting myths. He currently stars on ABC’s hit game show The Chase, as well as Master Minds on GSN, and co-hosts the twice-weekly podcast Omnibus.