The Biggest Controversy To Ever Happen On Jeopardy!

Obviously, the best controversies in Jeopardy history typically involve Sean Connery or Burt Reynolds. Whether it was Connery spewing ethnic slurs and making naughty remarks about Alex Trebek's mother or Reynolds renaming himself "Turd Ferguson" and mysteriously appearing mid-competition, they were deliciously difficult contestants. But in the grand scheme of things, their laugh-tastic antics amount to petit boobery at worst, for this legendary game show owes its existence to a huge scandal.

History explains that Jeopardy exists because of "rigged quiz shows." In the 1950s, producers and sponsors handpicked winners based on their popularity with audiences. The deep-seated deception prompted a congressional investigation in 1958 after a contestant on the show Dotto to inform the Manhattan District Attorney that a winner had received all the answers in advance, and a story was published about egregious fraud on the show Twenty-One. When Jeopardy debuted in 1964, it was a golden opportunity to hit the reset button and let the best competitor win. It even adopted the opposite format to that of its dishonest predecessors, supplying the answers and forcing contestants to state the question. But even a game show synonymous with integrity isn't controversy-free. And one in particular stands out.

What is the leaked footage of James Holzhauer's loss?

On any game show there will be mistakes, contentious moments, and contentious contestants. For instance, The Wrap writes that in 2018, a Jeopardy contestant got a do-over because the text for a Final Jeopardy question differed from what Alex Trebek read. And there was the time Sean Connery mispronounced "AN ALBUM COVER" in the greatest way imaginable. But the biggest controversy arguably surrounded James Holzhauer.

A professional gambler and apparent game show savant, Holzhauer went on an epic run, racking up dollars like a pool shark. Just when it seemed like he would beat Ken Jennings' earnings record, Holzhauer lost. And the viewers lost the opportunity to see it in context because as CNBC points out, somebody leaked a brief clip of him losing ahead of time, placing the show's ratings in jeopardy. Moreover, Holzhauer, who placed an unusually low bid in the final round, became the subject of conspiracy theories, with some incredulous viewers claiming he "[threw] the game" because he was in cahoots with a Las Vegas bookie. But Holzhauer explained that the odds were simply stacked against him.