'Jeopardy!': Why Ken Jennings Episode's First Question Is Freaking People out Amid Pandemic

Fans of Jeopardy! were treated to a surprise when tuning into Monday's episode. That's when viewers learned of what the next two weeks will look like as the series turns to re-runs amid the coronavirus outbreak. Production on the show came to a halt near the end of March.

Monday's episode touched on some nostalgia as Ken Jennings' first ever appearance on the show was aired. This will lead into the start of the Greatest of All-Time Tournament, which aired in January, and saw Jennings earn the title of the best player ever after knocking off James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter. The two-week event will wrap up on May 15 when Jeopardy! will show the end of Jennings' 74-game win streak. As for Monday's episode, fans quickly noticed an oddly-timed question with everything going on in today's world.

Jennings' first episode saw him go against Julia Lazarus and returning champion, Jerry Harvey, who had one two games previously. The first question of the night was buzzed in by Harvey and then answered by him, as well. Sixteen years later, fans are stunned to see what the question and answer were. Under the "EP-isodes" category, the $200 question was, "A fast-spreading outbreak or a disease," to which the response was, "What is an epidemic?" Considering what is going on with the coronavirus and the reason this episode is being re-aired, viewers could not believe the coincidence.

Another user who noticed couldn't believe the timing, "First answer of the Ken Jennings #Jeopardy re-runs is epidemic...you really can't make this up." While the first question drew some instant reactions from fans, others were focusing on the final question of the evening in the Final Jeopardy category. That was where some controversy set in as Jennings entered with $20,000 and bet $17,201. He responded to the answer, which was Olympian Marion Jones, by simply writing her last name. Host Alex Trebek checked if that would pass, and quickly responded that the last name would be acceptable. Had it gone the other way, though, and Trebek said it was not enough -- especially considering the common last name that is Jones -- Jennings would have finished in third and his run would have never began.


Jeopardy! will re-air the Greatest of All-Time Tournament on Tuesday on ABC.