'Jeopardy!' Fans Blast Show on Social Media for What It Did to This 12-Year-Old CNN
"Social media is still howling after last week's perceived slight of eighth-grader Thomas Hurley III" during Kids Week on "Jeopardy!," reports CNN.
The CNN story also asks whether it's not the "saddest moment in 'Jeopardy!' history."
As the article notes, here's what happened: "Thomas knew the answer to the Final Jeopardy question: 'Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, "a fit and necessary war measure."'
"But the 12-year-old Connecticut boy added an extra 't' to his answer: What is 'emanciptation proclamation.' Host Alex Trebek said Thomas 'misspelled it badly.'
'That's unfortunate,' he said. 'The judges are ruling against you.' "
As you'll see in the video clip below, Trebek actually misspeaks, saying that Thomas put in an extra "p," when it was an extra "t" that he put in.
The CNN story continues, "Thomas, who was in second place with $9,600 in winnings, had wagered $3,000 on the answer. He hung his head.
"'The thing that bothered me most was the way Alex Trebek and the producers treated my son. They were kind of smug,' his father, Thomas Hurley II, told CNN on Sunday night. 'It's a kids' tournament! Everyone knew what he meant.'
"The show was recorded in February, but aired Wednesday. Hurley said his son 'was barely holding it together, he was almost in tears. He had to relive it on Wednesday.'"
CNN notes that the "Jeopardy!" producers and judges released this statement about the incident: "If 'Jeopardy!' were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show, and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."
Social media exploded with comments about the incident, most of them blasting the show, as the CNN story reports:
" 'I used to love Jeopardy, but how Alex treated that kid and embarrassed him was uncalled for,' Luke Tran said in a post on the 'Jeopardy!' Facebook page. 'He called him out on his spelling saying it was badly misspelled when it wasn't that badly misspelled it was just misspelled slightly.'
"Some questioned the point of the game show.
" 'Jeopardy is not a spelling bee game and frankly before Alex Trebek or the judges penalize this boy for not spelling a word correctly then Alex trebek needs too explain too the contestants that spelling matters in the final around,' Ash Cruz Rios-James also said on Facebook."
To further complicate matters, after we here at TVWeek looked at the following video it seems to us that an argument can be made that the winning contestest misspelled the word "proclamation" in his answer, spelling it "proclanation." And his last "n" is not really legible at all. But clearly in the case of his answer the show's judges and producers decided they knew what he intended to write.
Here's the video of the incident: