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Jeopardy! execs break silence on ‘tough ruling’ against contestant & slam claims he was ‘robbed’ by Ken Jennings

Jeopardy! execs break silence on ‘tough ruling’ against contestant & slam claims he was ‘robbed’ by Ken Jennings

JEOPARDY! producers have defended their “tough but right” ruling against a contestant that left fans in an uproar.

Last Monday, Kevin Manning lost after dropping a crucial chunk of change over his pronunciation of an otherwise correct guess.

ABCFans were up in arms over how Jeopardy! ruled on this clue[/caption]

ABCKevin Manning was deemed incorrect for his pronunciation of ‘Gethsemane’[/caption]

ABCJeopardy! producers said: ‘Kevin wasn’t robbed. It was a tough ruling but the right ruling’[/caption]

The Jeopardy! moment in question occurred when Kevin selected the $1600 clue under the category “Bible.”

Ken Jennings, 48, read: “After the last supper Jesus traveled to this garden to pray & was arrested there.”

Kevin replied: “What is: The Garden of Gethsemane” but was instantly ruled as wrong.

He apparently offered the name of the place in Jerusalem with a hard “g” sound – which was correct – in the beginning, but a “d” sound – rather than an “n” – on the last syllable.

The returning champ, Tamara Ghattas, was then allowed to ring in and she used the “n” sound at the end but also said a soft “g” – which was incorrect – on the first syllable.


Ken ruled: “Yeah, we just needed the ‘N’ in Gethsemane, that’s correct.”

Had Kevin been given the points, he would have had $5,800, the $3,200 swing ultimately cost him being in the contest going into Final Jeopardy.

The muddled moment in which both responses weren’t quite right but one was accepted didn’t go over well with fans.

“Uhhhh @Jeopardy —-Who decided on the correct pronunciation of ‘Gethsemane’?? I need to hear that again,” tweeted one user.

“Unless I misunderstand #Jeopardy rules, the judges should not have accepted Tamara’s “Bible” answer of Jess-seh-muh-nee,” wrote a second user.

“That’s an entirely different word than Gethsemene, which is pronounced geth-seh-muh-nee. Of course, it didn’t matter in the end.”

“I thought the contestant who answered The ‘Garden of Gethsemane was robbed of his points tonight,” a third Twitter user wrote. “What did he say wrong? The contestant who got points for that question, didn’t even pronounce it right.”

On Reddit, one viewer wrote, “It’s a shame that Kevin’s mispronunciation of ‘Gethsemane’ cost him $3,200, which would’ve enabled him to pass Nicole on FJ,” referring to Final Jeopardy, which he was the only one correct on.


On this Monday’s podcast episode of Inside Jeopardy!, producer Sarah Whitcomb Foss stood by the ruling.

“I have to talk about one of the clues that has received a little buzz this week,” she began.

“Kevin responded with ‘GethsemeDe,’ Ken ruled him incorrect.”

“Tamara responded with ‘J’ethsemene.’

“So then she was ruled correct, and all of these people are online saying ‘wait but he used the hard G it was Gethsemane.’”

“And yes it was Gethseaene but it’s not GethsemeDe.”

“I actually visited the Garden of Gethsemane with the Clue Crew and people are wanting to make sure Kevin wasn’t ‘robbed.’”

“I saw that, you know, [headlines ran] Ken Jennings robs Kevin of correct response – we didn’t actually rob him of that.”

“He did put a ‘D’ at the end of the word, it had nothing to do with the hard G at the beginning.”

“It was a tough ruling but it was the right ruling.”

Former contestant Buzzy Cohen then said: “I remember in our [contestant] briefing they go into this.

“If your pronunciation changes the spelling it’s incorrect.

But if it’s spelled that way- if it’s a word you’ve read but haven’t heard which happens a lot [it’s correct.]

“So the examples we were given, like ‘jai alai’ – can be said with a soft “J” even if it’s actually an “H” sound.

It’s not the first time a Jeopardy! moment has gone viral recently for all the wrong reasons.

New executive producer Michael Davies recently issued a public apology after a “horrible” editing error in an episode displayed the players’ final at the very beginning of the game.

YOUTUBE/JEOPARDYProducer Sarah Foss said Kevin ‘put a D at the end of the word’ which made him incorrect[/caption]

ABCTamara’s version had a ‘hard G at the beginning’ but was allowed because only ‘If your pronunciation changes the spelling, [is it] incorrect’[/caption]

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