Who Is Ken Jennings?
Nov. 30, 2004 — -- For two weeks of his run as the longest-reigning "Jeopardy!" champion, Ken Jennings lived a double life. The shows had not yet aired, and no one was allowed to know where he was when he took off time from work.
"Nobody knew except my boss," the Salt Lake City software engineer recalled. "So I'd be working at my day job, living my normal life and I'd feel like Clark Kent 'cause every couple of weeks I'd have to secretly fly out here [to Los Angeles] and have this secret identity as a game show star."
Seventy-four wins and $2,520,700 later, his co-workers have no doubt that their colleague is a pop-culture icon.
"I think they're as proud as could be," Jennings said. "There's all kinds of Ken memorabilia -- 'Kenmabilia' -- up on the walls at work."
Jennings may be the greatest quiz show champion ever. Millions tuned in nightly since June -- and the show's ratings soared 22 percent -- to see if he could win yet another round by astounding margins. Even his 2-year-old son, who watched faithfully, realizes his father's newfound fame -- Jennings told host Alex Trebek that little Dylan has taken to calling him "Ken Jennings" instead of Daddy.
Jennings spoke with "Nightline's" Judy Muller on the "Jeopardy!" set in Los Angeles in November. The episode in which he finally lost was taped in early September, but the series' producers barred him from talking about it until the show aired.
As "Jeopardy!" fans know, the show moves at an incredibly fast pace. The contestants come and go. Once in a while, of course, they come and stay. In Jennings' case, he stayed so long it became almost routine.
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