Kenneth Wayne "Ken" Jennings III (born May 23, 1974) is an American game show contestant and author. Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak on the U.S.syndicatedgame showJeopardy! and as being the second highest-earning contestant in game show history. In 2004, Jennings won 74 Jeopardy! games (in a row) before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance. His total earnings on Jeopardy! are $3,196,300, consisting of $2,520,700 over his 74 wins, a $2,000 second-place prize in his 75th appearance, a $500,000 second-place prize in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, a $100,000 win for second-place prize in the Jeopardy Battle of the Decades, as well as half of a $300,000 prize in the IBM Challenge, when he competed against Watson.
During his first run of Jeopardy! appearances, Jennings earned the record for the highest American game show winnings. His total was surpassed by Brad Rutter, who defeated Jennings in the finals of the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions (first aired on May 25, 2005), adding $2,000,000 to Rutter's existing Jeopardy! winnings. Jennings regained the record after appearing on several other game shows, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (first aired on October 10, 2008), though Rutter retained the record for highest Jeopardy! winnings and would once again pass Jennings' total after his victory in the 2014 Jeopardy Battle of the Decades tournament.
After his success on Jeopardy!, Jennings wrote about his experience and explored American trivia history and culture in his book Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, published in 2006.