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Ken Jennings

Kenneth Wayne Jennings III (born May 23, 1974) is an American game show contestant and author. He is the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time. Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak on the U.S. game show Jeopardy! with 74 wins. He also holds the record for the highest average correct responses per game in Jeopardy! history (for those contestants with at least 300 correct responses) with 35.9 during his original run (no other contestant has exceeded 30) and 33.1 overall including tournaments and special events. In 2004, Jennings won 74 consecutive Jeopardy! games before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance. His total earnings on Jeopardy! are $4,522,700, consisting of: $2,520,700 over his 74 wins; a $2,000 second-place prize in his 75th appearance; a $500,000 second-place prize in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions (2005); a $300,000 second-place prize in Jeopardy’s IBM Challenge (2011), when he lost to the Watson computer but became the first human to best third-place finisher Brad Rutter; a $100,000 second-place prize in the Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades (2014); a $100,000 second-place prize (his share of his team’s $300,000 prize) in the Jeopardy! All-Star Games (2019); and a $1,000,000 first-place prize in the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time (2020). During his first run of Jeopardy! appearances, Jennings earned the record for the highest American game show winnings. His total was surpassed by Rutter, who defeated Jennings in the finals of the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, adding $2,000,000 to Rutter’s existing Jeopardy! winnings. Jennings regained the record after appearing on several other game shows, culminating with his results on an October 2008 appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, though Rutter retained the record for highest Jeopardy! winnings and once again passed Jennings’ total after his victory in the Jeopardy Battle of the Decades’ tournament. In 2020, he once again faced off and won against Rutter as well as James Holzhauer in a special primetime series called Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time. After his success on Jeopardy!, Jennings wrote about his experience and explored American trivia history and culture in his book Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, published in 2006.

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