'Jeopardy!' Producers Respond to Boy's Claim That He's Cheated Out of a Win

August 05, 2013 07:19:28 GMT

Twelve-year-old Thomas Hurley says in an interview he's upset that his correct answer was ruled out because of misspelling.

'Jeopardy!' Producers Respond to Boy's Claim That He's Cheated Out of a Win
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A 12-year-old boy feels cheated by "Jeopardy!". Thomas Hurley was one of the contestants in an episode taped in February and aired last week. In the final round, he and the other two players were asked to write down the name of the 1863 document Abraham Lincoln said was a "fit and necessary war measure."

Hurley made the right guess, Emancipation Proclamation, but he wrote the first word "emanciptation." Host Alex Trebek said the judges ruled against it and the boy lost $3,000 he'd wagered.

In a new interview published by the News-Times of Danbury, Conn., the eighth grader opened up, "I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final 'Jeopardy!' question. It was just a spelling error." He went on sharing, "It's just upsetting to have lost that way. I don't know why it would have counted as the wrong answer."

His mother, Suzanne, said that her son was "a little stunned" by the loss. "He felt embarrassed," she added. "It was hard to watch." Hurley, who was a runner-up on the competition, walked home with $2,000.

Defending their decision, "Jeopardy!" producers said in an e-mail, "If Jeopardy! were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."


Post Your Comments

posted by Karen on Aug 05, 2013
Jeff: Contestants are penalized for spelling errors if and ONLY if it changes the pronunciation of the word. If he'd written, say, "Emansipation Proclamation" he would've been fine, but "ee-man-sip-tay-shun" is not "ee-man-si-pa-shun". (The thinking being that if you ring in during an earlier round and say "Who is Nietzsche?" you shouldn't have to know how to spell "Nietzsche", but you do have to know how to pronounce it.) And yes, contestants are definitely informed of this before their shows are taped. Suck it up, kiddo, accuracy counts. Not everybody wins on "Jeopardy".
posted by ojdiddoit on Aug 05, 2013
the fat kid cheated
posted by JDW on Aug 05, 2013
How was he "cheated" out of a win when the other kid had $66,000??
posted by Johnny B Good on Aug 05, 2013
Look, this kid should be gratful that he had the chance to be on the show in the first place. The Parents should definately get with him and teach him that winning isn't everything and that he should study his vocabulary words a bit more next time. "Emancipitation" is just amazingly wrong. It doesn't even sound right. Rules are Rules. Follow them like everyone else.
posted by Kerry on Aug 05, 2013
Spelling is important, but, so is proper English. When required to phrase the answer as a question, "what waiting for Godot?" should not suffice for "What is 'Waiting for Godot' ?"
posted by jeff on Aug 05, 2013
I wish one of the stories about this would provide some context. Do they normally excuse small spelling errors, or do they normally call a wrong answer for a case like this?
posted by Matthew on Aug 05, 2013
Wow, what a poor loser. Like others have said, the rules have always been clear. This is just another sign of the times - the youngest generation feeling like they're entitled to success. Learn to spell, kid. It's not that difficult.
posted by Vince on Aug 05, 2013
He spelled the name wrong, therefore making his answer incorrect. Rules are called rules for a reason. Follow them. He even admits it was an "error", which invalidates his answer. At least he got on TV, he should be grateful he was chosen.
posted by Stephen on Aug 05, 2013
Even if he would have gotten the question right he still would of lost so what's the big deal. Spelling is important.

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