Fewer game show contestants have made a lasting impression like Ken Jennings. In 2004, Ken captured the hearts — and TVs — of millions by winning a whopping 74 games of Jeopardy!, and appearing on the show for six months. A record still to this day.
After his streak ended, Ken’s national fame, not surprisingly, was extended and he appeared on numerous talk shows, including The Tonight Show, The Late Show With David Letterman, Live With Regis and Kelly, and even Sesame Street. Once a software developer, Ken has maintained his career as a professional brainiac since appearing on the game show — and here’s what he’s up to today.
He’s an author
After being crowned the “King of Trivia Nation,” it was only natural that the 45-year-old became an author of — what else? — trivia books. Some of his books include Brainiac, which talks about the obsession with trivia in America, Ken Jennings’s Trivia Almanac, which is the biggest trivia book ever assembled in America, and Maphead, about his “lifelong obsession with geography.” In addition to trivia books, the father-of-two has also penned a parenting book called Because I Said So!
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) February 25, 2016
The little ones would also be all about Ken’s other book, The Junior Genius Guides.
He’s a commercial star
After losing on Jeopardy! on a question about H&R Block, Ken has appeared in numerous commercials. The Seattle resident has had guest spots in ads for FedEx, Allstate, Microsoft, Cingular, IBM, and yes, even H&R Block. Ken also speaks at colleges and at corporate events on the importance of learning.
He’s still in the game show circuit
Clearly, game shows are in Ken’s blood, as he’s appeared on many more since his Jeopardy! stint ended. He appeared as a host for two GSN Live shows, Stump the Master and Clued In. He also returned to Jeopardy! a few times for tournaments, racking up three second-place finishes. Additionally, Ken’s appeared on the show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, stopping at the final question, proving, evidently, that he’s not smarter than an elementary school student. In addition to keeping his trivia game strong, Ken also had a column for Mental Floss magazine called “Six Degrees of Ken Jennings.”
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) October 24, 2017
He’s social media savvy
Ken’s Twitter was named one of “The 75 Best Twitter Accounts of 2014” by Paste magazine, ranking it at #10. He doesn’t have a Instagram account, but he has over 300,000 followers on his Twitter. In addition to posting random fun facts and irreverent observations about society to social media, Ken also runs a blog. Every Tuesday, Ken emails subscribers seven trivia questions, one of which is designed to be Google-resistant. A trivia lover’s dream!
He’s a family man
When he’s not all about trivia, Ken is busy being a family man. He has been married to his wife Mindy since 2000. They have two kids — son Dylan and daughter Caitlyn. “My home office is right by the front door, so as soon as the kids are home from school, they come barreling in,” Ken once told Life Hacker. “I thought about putting a lock on the door but I ended up just embracing the catastrophe. I work as fast as I can so that I can be mostly done with the day’s writing before the quiet ends.”