There’s a first time for everything! A recent episode of Jeopardy! ended in a very unusual way — and even longtime host Alex Trebek was shocked.
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On Tuesday, October 13, the game show concluded with contestant Kevin Walsh as the last man standing in the final round. The returning champ’s fellow players Natt Supab and Alex Switzky experienced a deficit and a zero balance, respectively, earlier in the episode.
Trebek, 80, even commented on the rare occurrence. “The stage looks like a very lonely place right now,” he said at the time. “I cannot recall the last time we had only one player in Final Jeopardy!”
Walsh, a story analyst from Williamstown, New Jersey, was in the midst of a three-game winning streak leading up to Tuesday’s oddity. The contender has successfully accumulated over $81,700.
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“I’ve just always enjoyed learning. I’ve enjoyed being a student, I’ve enjoyed trivia, I’m a geek, I like geeky stuff,” Walsh said in an interview following his first game. “So, this is sort of the ultimate knowing of all of that stuff validated.”
The current version of Jeopardy! has aired since 1984. Throughout its decades-long run, a sole contestant competing in the final round has only occurred on a few occasions.
The last time this feat happened was in March 2015, during which Delaware native Kristin Sausville was left with zero components in the final round. Sausville’s fellow contestants landed in the red, making them ineligible to move forward.
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“Kristen and I are alone together. [It’s] an opportunity to get to know each other,” Trebek quipped at the time before adding, “Kristen, we’re gonna start with you.”
Last month, Jeopardy! returned for its 37th season after shutting down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. New COVID-19 regulations are being enforced, including more space between the contestants while at their podiums. The production is also shooting without a studio audience.
“I feel good, and I feel excited because once again, Jeopardy! has demonstrated that it’s at the forefront of television programming,” Trebek said in a statement. “On a personal level, I’m excited because it gets me out of the house. It gives me something to do on a regular basis, and I was missing that.”
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