Jeopardy! Turns 50 Years Old In 2014


This year Jeopardy!, the iconic game show created by Merv Griffin, turns 50 years old.  The game show, which originally aired during the daytime on NBC and was hosted by Art Fleming, features a quiz competition with clues in the form of answers.   The game consists of two rounds of questions and then concludes with one final Jeopardy! question.  Jeopardy! has seen its greatest success since the daily syndicated version, hosted by Alex Trebek, premiered in 1984.  Alex Trebek has been the host ever since, except for a special April Fool’s episode in which Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak switched duties with Trebek for the day.  In honor of Jeopardy!’s 50th anniversary below is a look at some of its most memorable moments.

Top 5 Highest Jeopardy! Single Day Winnings

  1. Roger Craig – $ 77,000 (9/14/2010)
  2. Ken Jennings – $ 75,000 (7/23/2004)
  3. Skyler Hornback – $ 66,600 (7/31/2004)
  4. Ken Jennings – $ 55,099 (11/24/2004)
  5. Mark Runsvold – $ 55,000 (7/18/2001)


Longest Jeopardy! Winning Streak

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In 2004, Ken Jennings won 74 games in a row before being defeated by Nancy Zerg.


Highest Total Jeopardy! Winnings

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Brad Rutter currently holds the record for the highest total winnings on Jeopardy! with over $ 3.4 million.


Highest Single Day Celebrity Jeopardy! Winnings

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During the 2009 – 2010 season, comedian Andy Richter finished a first round game with $ 68,000 which was donated to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Jeopardy!’s Influence On Pop Culture

In the “Cheers” episode titled “What Is…Cliff Clavin?”, Cliff portrayed by John Ratzenberger, appears on the game show and heads in Final Jeopardy! with $ 22,000 before losing it all on the final question.

On “The Simpsons” episode titled “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace”, Marge Simpson left the game with -$ 5,200.

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During Will Ferrell’s time on Saturday Night Live, he frequently parodied Alex Trebek as the host of Celebrity Jeopardy! as he took constant abuse from Sean Connery, played by Darrell Hammond.

During the 1992 movie, “White Men Can’t Jump”, Rosie Perez’s character, Gloria Celemente, appears on the show and wins more than $ 14,000.

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While the main theme music for the original Jeopardy! series was “Take Ten” which was composed by Merv Griffin’s wife, the best known theme song is “Think”.  ”Think” was originally composed by Merv Griffin as a lullaby for his son but has been used as the main theme song since the daily syndicated version launched in 1984.


Jeopardy! has expanded well beyond television as over the years there have been dozens of board games, video games, books and even casino games.

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Bonus Fact

Here is your clue: Once

Answer: What is the number of times Alex Trebek has appeared on the Jeopardy! stage without any pants?

This moment never appeared on air, however it was included on a special DVD release that took an “inside look” at the show.  The incident occurred before the final game of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions in 2005.  According to Alex Trebek, he was trying to alleviate any tension and had asked that all of the contestants play without pants.  Of course none of the contestants complied but Trebek did create some laughter from his stunt.


What is your favorite Jeopardy! moment of all-time?

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