June 29, 2004

Who is someone who has never been in my kitchen?

The man cannot be stopped. Ken Jennings has become the winningest non-tournament contestant in Jeopardy history with a run of 20 consecutive wins as of tonight. He's got me watching again, that's for sure. (Or, rather, TiVo recording the show because I never seem to be home when it's on.) Ken has the game show world buzzing about his place in the game show pantheon and how far he can go, though I'm beginning to sense that by this point in the taping, Alex Trebek was getting a little tired of having the same guy there show after show. How many interesting things can he come up with to chat about during their little interviews?

It would have been a lot easier for Ken to win the kind of money he has won thus far if he went on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or Super Millionaire, I suppose, but his 15 minutes of fame would have been up a lot sooner. (That doesn't really make sense, does it? But it's the way we now use the term, so bear with me.)

Jeopardy requires a lot broader field of knowledge to get on the show, but it has been on for so long that I don't think they get the rush of applicants like prime-time Millionaire does, which I imagines makes it harder to actually get on that one. Those "fastest fingers" phone auditions are a killer and if one of the five questions hits on one area you don't know, you're out. Jeopardy auditions are a longer process that test you hard, but there's a little wiggle room. Not much, though -- I didn't get past the written test when I tried out in a local contestant search, and I'm one of those "How does she remember that stuff?!?" kind of people. Literature was my downfall -- I'm an avid reader and always have been, but I've never paid enough attention to the classics and their authors.

Game shows have been an interesting topic to me lately. While I was enduring my wasted weekend thanks to being sick, I came across a show that's on GSN right now about what they're calling "The Press Your Luck Scandal." It's about an hour longer than it should be, and they try to hype it into something more than it was, but it is an interesting look at how someone "beat" a game show, fair and square, by exploiting a flaw in the game and having the perseverance to take it as far as he could. I'd never heard about it, since CBS did a pretty good job of mothballing the shows on which he won after one airing, and it was intriguing. Not a terribly well-done "documentary" but intriguing.