It's official: TV's all-time game-show champ finished his spectacular run on Tuesday

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 01, 2004 08:00 AM

The answer: Ken Jennings.

The question: What all-time game-show champ ended his record 74-show winning streak on Tuesday?

In the end, it was not knowing that the auditing firm of H&R Block – not FedEx, as Jennings had believed – has 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees who only work four months a year that forced the 31-year-old Salt Lake City software engineer to hand the Jeopardy! crown over to the evening’s new winner: Nancy Zerg, 47, a former actress turned real-estate agent from Ventura, Calif.

The final score was Zerg’s $14,001 to Jennings’s $8,799 – prompting a gasp from the TV audience and a look of amazement from host Alex Trebek. .

“Someone’s got to beat him sometime, it might as well be me,” Zerg told the Associated Press, while Jennings told New York’s Daily News: “There was some initial disappointment. … There was also some big-time relief. My life had essentially been on hold for six months.”

Jennings added: “I miss it quite a bit.” In fact, he’s been missing it for months, as the episode shown Tuesday night was actually taped in September, though there had been rumors spreading about the outcome. Earlier this week an audio clip was leaked on an Internet site.

Jennings racked up some impressive statistics, AP reports. His average daily haul was $34,063.51. Four times he tied the previous daily record of $52,000 before shattering it with a $75,000 win in Game 38. He delivered more than 2,700 correct responses.

As for the future, besides a Random House book coming out and even some games he’s thinking of developing, Jennings is telling reporters that that he does not intend to splurge on anything, though he and his wife Mindy are planning a trip to Europe next year. He also told the News that as a devout Mormon he plans to donate 10 percent of his winnings to the church.