'Jeopardy!' Hero-Villain Arthur Chu Struggles Early; Could He Come Back?

The 10-time champ stumbles over pronunciation of actress' name.

ByABC News
March 11, 2014, 4:01 PM

March 11, 2014 — -- Polarizing "Jeopardy!" champ Arthur Chu won an 11th straight game, though not without early struggles and a few testy exchanges with show host Alex Trebek.

Chu, 30, an insurance compliance worker and voice-over actor from Broadview Heights, Ohio, who has been live tweeting his winning streak, didn't really take off on tonight's pre-taped episode until the "Double Jeopardy!" round, which he began in second place, $400 behind the leader, Kirsten Albair.

But, in a familiar story, Chu pulled away from his rivals by controlling the board with rapid-fire picks of high-value squares chosen out of the game's conventional sequence -- a playing style drawn from game theory that has prompted some traditionalists to dub him the "Jeopardy! Villain" and others to cheer him via the Twitter hashtag #ChuChuTrain.

Chu's strategy once again allowed him to secure all three of the hidden "Daily Double" boxes, to place big bets on them and to keep them away from his opponents.

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In the first round, Chu was able to double his score to $4,000 using a "Daily Double." In the second round, already securely in the lead, he picked up an additional $4,000 by hitting a "Daily Double," but he soon lost $5,000 on another one by mispronouncing the name of the actress Frances McDormand. Chu's response would have been correct but Trebek said he heard Chu say "McDarmand."

On a subsequent clue, a seemingly annoyed Chu emphatically pronounced the name of another actor, Sam Waterston.

He lost another round of the pronunciation wars when he pronounced the politician Elbridge Gerry's name with a soft "g." Trebek noted it should have a hard "g," prompting Chu to protest that the term gerrymandering has a "soft-g" pronunciation and is derived from Gerry's last name.

Nevertheless, by the "Final Jeopardy!" question on "Novel Titles," Chu led Albair $17,000 to $5,200. Both got the question right but Chu easily coasted to victory. His $20,000 take for the game brought his 11-day winnings to $297,200.