“Jeopardy!” ace Ken Jennings says recent comments he posted on his Web site about the long-running game show and host Alex Trebek weren’t “bashing.”
“I know, I know, the old folks love him,” Jennings said of Trebek in a July 19 letter titled, “Dear Jeopardy!” Trebek, 66, has hosted the show since 1984. In the posting, Jennings went on to say about Trebek: “Nobody knows he died in that fiery truck crash a few years back and was immediately replaced with the Trebektron 4000 (I see your engineers still can’t get the mustache right, by the way).”
Jennings, a software engineer from Salt Lake City, won $2.5 million during his 74-game winning streak on “Jeopardy!” in 2004.
He also took aim at what he said were the show’s “effete, left-coast” categories and “same-old” format.
“You’re like the Dorian Gray of syndication,” he wrote. “You seem to think ‘change’ means replacing a blue polyethylene backdrop with a slightly different shade of blue polyethylene backdrop every presidential election or so.”
Trebek, 66, has hosted the show since 1984. In a “correction” posted Monday on his Web site, Jennings offers an apology of sorts.
“We regret the insinuation that Mr. Alex Trebek is a robot, and has been since 2004. Mr. Trebek’s robotic frame does still contain some organic parts, many harvested from patriotic Canadian schoolchildren, so this technically makes him a ‘cyborg,’ not a ‘robot.”’
After reports of his comments appeared in the media Tuesday, Jennings countered on his Web site that his letter was meant to be “a humor piece.”
“For the record: I’ve loved ‘Jeopardy!’ since I was a kid, as anyone who talks to me for about five minutes knows. Making goofy jokes about TV shows isn’t ‘bashing.’ I believe it’s the whole reason Al Gore invented the Internet.”
A call by The Associated Press to “Jeopardy!” spokesman Jeff Ritter wasn’t returned.
The AP also attempted to reach Jennings through a Los Angeles-based agency that represents him.
Jennings also responded Tuesday to people who posted comments on his Web site’s message board, calling them “humor-impaired sock puppet users.”