Game Show Controversies and Scandals

VIDEO: Autumn Erhard discusses learning she'd won $1 million on long-running game show.
ABCNEWS.com

The game show has been a part of American television since TV sets featured fuzzy black-and-white images and rabbit-ear antennas. But throughout its history this seemingly wholesome staple of television has also been through its share of controversies. The first major controversy started with the infamous cheating scandal of the "Twenty-One" game show, in which contestants were coached on the answers in the late 1950s.

In the ensuing 60 years, there have been plenty of controversies and scandals related to some of the most popular game shows.

Last week even the long running "Jeopardy" came under fire during Kids Week when a minor spelling mistake meant an eighth grader's answer was deemed incorrect. As a result of the decision, the show's Facebook page has been inundated with angry messages about the decision and host Alex Trebek's handling of the situation.

Not even Trebek, who has hosted the show for 29 years, can escape controversy all the time.

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Game Show Controversies and Scandal

PHOTO: Reid Rogers, seen here appearing on Jeopardy! in March, 2012, lost the game after mispronouncing "Wimbledon".
Obtained by ABC News
It's Wimble-Don not Wimble-TON

If you make it to "Jeopardy," remember it's not enough to know the right answer but you have to know the right pronunciation. in March 2012, Reid Rodgers of Nebraska, confidently responded to a question about a British tennis venue with "Wimbledon."

However, his pronunciation the famed tennis courts sounded closer to "Wimbel-TON." Although, initially host Alex Trebek didn't notice, a few moments later Trebek informed a shocked audience that Rodger's pronunciation was wrong and he would be docked $800.

Vice President Makes 'Jeopardy' Cameo

Rodgers ultimately came in second place, according to the North Platte Telegraph, but he didn't lament his bad luck.

"They do a really good job of prepping you," Rodgers told the newspaper. "They told me that everyone loses on Jeopardy, and some people lose sooner than others."

Game Show Controversies and Scandal

PHOTO: Major Charles Ingram and his partner Diana Ingram
David Westing/Getty Images
Man Who Would Be Millionaire, Caught Cheating

In 2001, Charles Ingram won a million pounds in the United Kingdom version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" However, delivery of the money to Ingram was halted after he was accused of cheating.

Ingram and his wife were eventually found guilty in a British court of conspiring to cheat the program out of prize money. The court found that Ingram's wife would cough at key moments to indicate the right answer.

Game Show Controversies and Scandal

PHOTO: Thomas Hurley is seen appearing on Jeopardy on August 2, 2013, where he answered a question correctly but lost the round due to misspelling "emancipation".
Obtained by ABC News
Always Spell Check

Last week during Kids Week on "Jeopardy," middle school student Thomas Hurley proudly and correctly answered the final "Jeopardy" question with "What is the Emancipation Proclamation."

Alex Trebek Injured by Theif in His Hotel Room

Unfortunately, Hurley wrote the correct answer but made a crucial error by misspelling "Emancipation." He added an extra "T." Hurley lost $3,000 as a result of his answer and ultimately came in second.

After the decision, the Facebook page for "Jeopardy" was overrun with complaints about the decision on Hurley's misspelled answer.

Game Show Controversies and Scandal

PHOTO: Jeopardy contestant Ken Jennings competes against Watson
Ben Hider/Getty Images
Welcome Our New Computer Overlords

In 2011, "Jeopardy: hosted a showdown between man and machine, pitting human contestants against IBM supercomputer "Watson."

Fighting for mankind were Ken Jennings, who holds the record for most Jeopardy wins, and Brad Rutter, who holds the record for winning the most money. In spite of the pedigree of the human contestants, after a three-day battle Watson had beaten out the humans by a landslide.

What Happens to Watson After Jeopardy?

By the final "final Jeopardy," Watson took in $77,147. Jennings came in second place with $24,000 and Rutter came in third with $21,600.

For the final answer, Jennings added the memorable quip, "I for one welcome our new robot overlords."

Game Show Controversies and Scandal

Trick Question

A couple who lost prize money while participating on the game show "Million Dollar Money Drop," sued the producers of the show, accusing them of "trick questions."

When Andrew and Patricia Murray appeared on the game show in 2010, they were told they answered the question, "What is the most common password?" incorrectly.

While the couple believed the answer was "Password," the show's host, Kevin Pollack, instead said it was "123456" and the couple was dismissed from the game.

Instead of accepting their loss, the couple then researched the question and determined the information came from an obscure web site that should have been mentioned in the question. In their 2012, complaint the couple said the question was unclear and sued both the Fox network and the show's producers for $580,000.

Game Show Controversies and Scandal

PHOTO: A contestant on the game show "Wheel of Fortune" lost a round after misprouncing "swimming", sparking outrage.
ABC News
Don't Forget the 'G'

One "Wheel of Fortune" contestant thought she had the contest sewn up when she tried to solve the word puzzle with the answer, "Seven Swans A-Swimming."

Unfortunately for Renee Durette, when she pronounced the answer in December 2012, she missed the crucial final "G" in swimming. As a result, the show's judges determined that she had answered in the vernacular and her answer was disqualified.

"That's kind of how I speak, you know, being from Florida and I asked for the 'g' so I knew it was there," Durette said.

Although Durette lost $3,850 as a result of the decision she said she still enjoyed her time on the show, calling it "an amazing experience."

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