Patrick Pearce, a product specialist from Fountain Valley, California, fulfilled the dream of many TV fans this week, when he appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy! Pearce also got to appear on one of the episodes featuring guest host LeVar Burton, who was among the most-requested names by fans to do a stint standing in for the late Alex Trebek on this season of Jeopardy! He even got to pose with Burton for a picture that was shared on social media by the local ABC station that airs Jeopardy! in his hometown.
Sadly, that very nice picture was basically the highlight of Pearce’s Jeopardy! experience. When all was said and done, Pearce ended Double Jeopardy with a final score of -$7,400. That, in turn, per KPEL965.com, gives him the distinction of holding the record for the single worst score in Jeopardy! history.
The previous record for worst Jeopardy! score belonged to Stephanie Hull, who earned (or technically owed Jeopardy!) -$6,800 after a disappointing performance on the March 12, 2015 episode of the show. She later told Slate how it happened, explaining “I was trying to get myself out of the hole with high-value questions. They were very difficult questions and I couldn’t get myself out of the hole. If you’ve ever seen that GIF of Kermit flapping his arms, doing that Kermit flail, that’s kind of what it was.” Every time you get a $2,000 question wrong, they subtract $2,000 from your score. Get a few of those incorrect in a row and you can wind up in a very deep hole.
On the plus side, Pearce did receive a $1,000 prize for coming in third place on the show. And he still did better than the thousands of people who’ve failed the test to get on Jeopardy! in the first place. That’s something to be proud of, even if the final outcome was less than ideal.
LeVar Burton’s stint as Jeopardy! guest host continues the rest of this week. He’ll be followed by journalist David Faber and sportscaster Joe Buck to wrap up the season. Here’s an interview with Burton on his experience hosting the show.
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