The category is “Ken Jennings.” Clue: The best thing to happen when a game show has a brainiac contestant on the greatest winning streak in the show’s history. Answer: Alex, what is, November sweeps?
Good fortune or good planning/ Maybe a little of both.
In early September, B&C reported that Jennings had been vanquished, but the taping of that fateful episode hadn’t aired at B&C’s press time.
The season began Sept. 6 with two weeks of Jennings, then two weeks of the annual Tournament of Champions, followed by two weeks of Jennings, followed by a kids week, then back to Jennings.
For every day in November that stations get a Jennings-related sweeps bump, they’ll know whom to thank: past champions and the kids who competed during a special week of children’s Jeopardy! that began on Oct. 18, putting the software engineer from Salt Lake City on hiatus.
King World, which distributes the show, says the kiddie interlude was not a stalling tactic to carry the streak over into November. “Traditionally, we have a kids week in the fall,” says a rep, who wouldn’t comment on when the streak ends.
Either way, stations are thrilled to have Jennings on-board for sweeps. He has been a ratings boon for the venerable syndicated show. Season-to-date, Jeopardy! is averaging a 7.9 rating, up 20% over last fall’s ratings, according to Nielsen Media Research. Since the streak started June 2, Jennings has won more than $2 million.