November 4, 2011

Chicago Sun-Times
As a contestant on the thinking person’s game show “Jeopardy” in the summer of 2010, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Kara Spak tore up the place, winning five nights in a row, amassing $85,401 in prize money and picking up a few devoted fans. That qualified her for more big money on the game’s “Tournament of Champions” that aired this week.

She tanked. “I lost on Jeopardy,” Spak writes in Friday’s Sun-Times, the inevitable lede from Weird Al Yankovich’s parody song.

On the stage, the 30-minute show went by in about 30 seconds, a complete blur of not being able to ring in and then finally getting in and answering with a wildly inappropriate answer (“What is a threesome?” to a question about a love triangle). During a commercial break that followed, Alex Trebek called me a “saucy wench.”

It didn’t help that she and her fellow competitor, a film preservationist, were up against computer scientist Roger Craig, who set the record for most winnings in a single game — $77,000 – and whose $230,200 in total winnings places him fourth among the game show’s top winners.

Still, Spak has a shot of moving on to the tournament’s semi-finals if her unusual bet of just $12 in the game’s Final Jeopardy lands her a “wild card” spot. The big reveal airs Nov. 8.

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