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'Jeopardy!' to hit landmark 6,000th episode in upcoming season

The clue: Born in 1984, this syndicated quiz show has won more than two dozen Daytime Emmy Awards, attracts about 9 million viewers a day and features a cool-as-a-cucumber host who hails from Canada. • The question: What is Jeopardy? • The 27th season of the game show began this week (7:30 weekdays on WFTS-Ch. 28) and will feature the milestone 6,000th episode before it's over. On Tuesday, a graduate student at the University of Delaware won $77,000, breaking a single-episode record. • To prep for this upcoming season, here's a little trivia about "America's Favorite Quiz Show." (Yep, it has that phrase trademarked.)

Here's your host: 70-year-old Alex Trebek and his former mustache (not trademarked) hail from Ontario, Canada. He's been the host of Jeopardy! since its syndicated start in 1984, but began his U.S. game-show hosting duties in 1973 for The Wizard of Odds. (His unflappable demeanor is often parodied, including in an uncanny performance by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live.) The show's announcer is Johnny Gilbert, whose voicing duties go back to the 1950s, including stints on Beat the Odds and The Price Is Right.

Before syndication: Technically, Jeopardy! began before the Trebek era. Merv Griffin, right, conceived of the show, which first aired in 1964, as a solution to the game-show scandals of the '50s, when contestants were sometimes given the answers ahead of time. To put a spin on that, Griffin reportedly suggested giving them answers, then asking them to provide the questions. Art Fleming was the original host.

The clue is … : Sometimes, Trebek takes a rest and allows a celebrity to present the clue. Astronauts about the Space Shuttle Atlantis once had the honor while docked with the International Space Station. Other big names include: Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Jerry Seinfeld and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Defying the odds: In 2007, for the first time, the final question resulted in a three-way tie among the contestants. Each won $16,000 after correctly answering a question regarding women of the 1930s. The odds of a three-way tie? About 1 in 25 million.

Local ties: More than a dozen Tampa Bay residents have competed on the show over the years, including Largo's Gabby Dannunzio, left, who won $15,201 during the Kids Week in 2009.

Big winners: Roger Craig is the latest big winner, winning $77 grand on Tuesday's show. That breaks the 2004 record held by software engineer Ken Jennings, who went on to win $3 million in 74 appearances. (Jennings had $75,000 in one day.)

m Speaking of Ken: Ever wonder what happened to Ken Jennings, above, after his reign ended? He has his own quiz games now, of course. You can buy "Can You Beat Ken?" and "Quizzology" — and book Ken for personal appearances — on his official website,

This report contains material from the Internet Movie Database and Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

'Jeopardy!' to hit landmark 6,000th episode in upcoming season 09/15/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 7:09pm]
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