What Is, Pointing the Finger? Alex Trebek Says Who’s to Blame for ‘Jeopardy!’ Kids Week Incident

Aug 12, 2013  •  Post A Comment

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek had a few things to say about a recent incident on the show’s Kids Week, which had fans crying foul. Mainly, Trebek said it wasn’t his fault, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.

As previously reported, eighth-grader Thomas Hurley III’s Final Jeopardy answer was ruled incorrect because he misspelled "Emancipation Proclamation," adding an extra "t" to the first word ("Emanciptation"). Trebek told the boy that he had "misspelled [the answer] badly," causing fans to protest that the host had been too harsh with the boy.

"It wasn’t my decision; it was the judges’,” Trebek told the publication. “I don’t mind being accountable if it’s something I have done, but it kind of bothers me to take a lot of flak for something I haven’t done. I must be getting thin-skinned in my old age.”

He added, "After the show I said [to the judges], ‘I can understand it, but it’s a little rough.’ I thought they may have ruled a little harshly, but they ruled according to the rules of the game. They made a valid point, and I can understand that.”

Click here to see the video of the incident.


  1. As TV Week pointed out in a previous article on this topic, it you look at how the “winner” wrote his answer, it looks like his answer was misspelled also. It would not surprise me it this isn’t the last we hear of this.

  2. No, it doesn’t look like the champ’s answer was misspelled. it looks like he ran out of room on the telestrator. Which the judges never penalize contestants for as long as all the letters are there (which they are). And it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. This kid still would have come in 2nd place. It didn’t affect the outcome at all. The kid spelled it wrong, they dinged him for it. I still fail to see what the problem is.

  3. Alex was harsher than he needed to. Rules are rules, but missing one letter does not justify using “badly” in my opinion. If he missed 4 or 5 letters, “badly” may have been more appropriate. I think he’s just being stubborn in his old age, not “thin-skinned.”

  4. Okay, so a game that allows just a last name instead of a proper name for answers and has routinely allowed abbreviations in Final Jeopardy dings a kid for adding ONE letter? No, it wouldn’t have made the kid a winner but it would have given him a score that would make him a contender to return at some point for one of their ratings stunt championships where eligibility is determined by your score. They’ll either settle or let the kid come back at some point.

  5. Former Jeopardy contestant here.
    Spelling usually doesn’t count unless they say it does, say in a category where spelling is part of the correct question.
    That being said, Alex Trebek piled on the kid unnecessarily, IMO. He is a bit of a dick to the contestants, having seen his behavior up close.
    But the kid and his parents are blowing this up all out of proportion. He still would have come in 2nd, even if his question would have been ruled correct. He still would have walked away with the same $2000.
    So all this whining and crying about how he was denied his shot because of a misspelling is way overblown and for nothing. And they’re making themselves look bad, not the show.
    And Alex Trebek is still a dick.

  6. Dear Me, akaKJB, and Entitlement. If the winner’s answer would have been judged incorrect, it would have mattered. You need to go back to school to bone up on your math. If both kids answers were deemed incorrect, then the winners total would have dropped from $36,600 to $6,600, the exact same total as the 2nd place kid. They would have tied. I have looked at the winner’s answer multiple times and I can see where TV Week suggested that his answer was not correct. So if TV Week is correct, and both answers were judged incorrect, we would have had a tie. I have no horse in this race so I don’t really care what happens, but to say it would not have mattered if both answers were judged incorrect is just not true.

  7. If you are thin skinned don’t go on Jeopardy! The kids parents are the dicks because they are being crybabies.
    Alex is Alex and doesn’t change his behavior. If you don’t like who he is don’t watch the show and don’t go on the show. To go on the show and be surprised that he is tough shows you are stupid. It is like going to Vegas and complaining there is gambling there. DUH!

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