Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Woman Who Beat Ken Jennings Loses 'Jeopardy!'

Nancy Zerg (search), aka "The Woman Who Toppled Ken Jennings (search)," did not have long to savor her victory.

Wednesday night, she was knocked off in her first game after beat ing the famous "Jeopardy!" (search) champ.

Her reign may have been short — but she'll be remembered for tripping up the biggest game-show winner of all time.

"Keeping it a secret was hard because a lot of people knew I'd been there [the day Jennings reportedly lost]," Zerg told The Post yesterday.

"The worst part was, after I won, people from the show and publicity people rushed up and said, 'This is huge! This is going to be big!

'Now go home and don't tell anyone for three months.' "

Zerg, a real estate agent from Ventura, Calif., beat Jennings in early September, ending his record-setting run of 74 consecutive "Jeopardy!" victories.

The win leaked out over the Internet — but could never be confirmed. Some reports even had Zerg's name completely wrong.

"When it leaked out on the Net, I'm glad people got my name wrong — when they thought I was 'Frank from New Jersey,' " Zerg said. "I had no idea it was going to be this big."

Zerg, a "Jeopardy!" fanatic since childhood, qualified for the show last April — Jennings began taping his shows in February — and taped her show in September, when Jennings returned and continued to rack up win after win.

But she said she wasn't cowed by Jennings — and went to battle armed with a positive attitude, unlike some of his other vanquished opponents.

"I thought, 'Somebody is going to beat him, and it might as well be me,' " she said. "I watched some of the other players' attitudes, and they lost [the game] in the parking garage before they even got to the studio.

"One guy said, 'It looks like I'm playing for second.' But I thought if I could have more than half of [Jennings'] total at 'Final Jeopardy,' which I'm usually pretty good at, I thought I could beat him."

Zerg ended Tuesday's show with a winning $14,001, compared to Jennings' second-place total of $8,799.

Her sudden fame found her guesting with Jennings on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," fielding dozens of interview requests and even doing satellite interviews for radio and TV stations around the country.

But the married mother of 7-year-old Madeline (husband is Jeff Zerg) says she hasn't even thought about what the future holds — or what she'll do with her "Jeopardy!" winnings.

"I could use a new washer/dryer," she said, laughing.