'Jeopardy!' Champ Says NBC Reneged on His Invitation to 'Million Second Quiz' TVWeek
The most successful champion in the history of "Jeopardy!" says he received an invitation from NBC to participate in its new heavily promoted -- but ratings-challenged -- game show "Million Second Quiz," only to have the network change its mind and renege on the invitation.
Ken Jennings, who has reportedly won more than $3 million on "Jeopardy!," said NBC reached out to him over the weekend, asking him if he could fly across the country to appear on "Quiz." But that plan subsequently went awry, according to a blog post from Jennings.
"I couldn’t say no. I love game shows, even imperfect ones. I sent in some paperwork and had a plane ticket in my inbox by the time I sat down to brunch with my family," Jennings wrote.
An hour later, he wrote, his phone rang again. It was NBC calling back, saying there was a "miscommunication."
"The network, for unspecified reasons, was not willing to fly 'trivia champions' in for the show. I couldn’t imagine why not, as they’ve been flying in suspiciously telegenic 'Line Jumpers' of many other descriptions. But evidently not me. I could fly myself to New York if I like, they said. I wouldn’t even have to wait in line," he wrote.
His answer? "Thanks but no thanks," he wrote.
As previously reported, "Million Second Quiz" suffered significant ratings erosion during its first week, slipping to a 1.1 overnight average in the key 18-49 demo Thursday that made it the night's lowest-rated original prime-time show on the big four broadcast networks.
The number reported for Friday night's installment of "Quiz" was even lower -- a 0.8 average rating in viewers 18-49, based on Nielsen "live plus same day" figures.