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"Jeopardy!" Producers Explain Major On-Air Flub: "Ken Made a Mistake"

His fumble almost gave one contestant $400 for a wrong answer.

Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings knows what it's like to stand on both sides of the podium. The player-turned-host currently holds the record for most consecutive wins (spoiler alert: he's won 74 games in a row) and the highest earnings in regular-season play. All of that to say, Jennings is well familiar with both the pressure and excitement of the beloved quiz show. And yes, even Jennings is susceptible to making on-air mistakes.

On April 15, Jennings had to issue a correction after he deemed contestant Alison Betts' answer correct when it was, in fact, wrong. Executive producer Michael Davies and producer Sarah Foss have since publicly acknowledged the snafu, which they admitted even took them by surprise, considering how Jennings rarely messes up.

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"Now something happened in this game that fans were very surprised about, and that is Ken made a mistake," Foss said on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast.

Davies jokingly responded, "Woah, what!" before Foss jumped to Jennings' defense.

The incident occurred when Betts selected the $400 tile under "Places That Are Also First Names," The Sun reports. Alongside a video clip, Jennings read aloud the clue: "A bust of the brawl-loving Renaissance goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini graces the Ponte Vecchio in this city."

Betts dinged her buzzer first and answered, "What is Venice?" Her response was originally deemed right until Jennings stopped the game to correct himself.

"I mean, he only made it long enough to correct himself. We didn't even have to correct him. But basically, Alison rang in and said 'Venice,' and Ken said correct. Then he went 'Wait wait,'" Foss explained.

She continued, "He quickly ruled Alison incorrect, but this happened so quickly, and Ken says things with such confidence that we go 'Oh yeah,' and all of a sudden all of us were all yelling 'No, no!'"

The answer Jennings was actually looking for was Florence, which another contestant guessed correctly.

"That was a fun moment in this game," Foss laughed, looking back.

Nevertheless, an on-air flub from the show's host caught many fans off guard. Jennings' fumble was a popular topic of discussion in a Reddit thread about the April 15 episode.

"Ooh, Ken made a mistake. I guess he is fallible," one fan commented, to which someone else responded: "I was like 'I've never heard of anyone named Venice?'"

"I was shocked," said another. "When is the last time a host made a mistake and corrected themself immediately like that?"

"A rare mistake from Ken!" reads a fourth comment.

One person reasoned, "My guess is that Alison gave the correct answers most of the time, his brain just went on autopilot and assumed it was the correct response when she answered lol."

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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