‘Jeopardy!’: Julia Collins Says Alex Trebek Tried to ‘Smooth Things Over’ After a Contestant Made a Mean Comment to Her

High energy, game shows look fun on TV. They can certainly be an entertaining experience for contestants and fans watching at home but they’re also very competitive. Led by longtime host Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! means prize money and bragging rights are at stake when players step foot on the program’s famous set.

And sometimes, when a contestant doesn’t win they make their frustrations known. That’s what happened to Julia Collins after a particularly intense game. Keep reading to find out what the unhappy contestant told Collins and learn more about how Trebek tried to “smooth things over.” 

Alex Trebek stands in front of monitors at a rehearsal for taping of 'Jeopardy!' Power Players Week
Alex Trebek at a Jeopardy! rehearsal | Kris Connor/Getty Images

Julia Collins wins 20 consecutive games of ‘Jeopardy!’

Collins is a Jeopardy! champion and one of the most successful players the game show’s ever seen. Yearning to go on Jeopardy! for years, Collins got her chance in 2014. She excelled at answering rapid-fire clues, winning 20 games in a row before losing. 

She now holds third place in the Jeopardy! Hall of Fame for most consecutive games won. The two contestants with more games played are James Holzhauer with 32 games and Ken Jennings with 74 games. Besides getting a spot in the award-winning program’s history books, Collins earned more than $400,000 in prize money. 

She says a contestant ‘was out of sorts’ to her about losing

After her magnificent run on Jeopardy! ended, Collins talked about the experience in a series of interviews. One of them being a conversation with Vulture in 2014. Asked whether or not any contestants were, for lack of a better term, sore losers to her, Collins recalled an incident that happened at the end of a game. 

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There was one contestant who was out of sorts to my face,” she said. “ I don’t know what they said when I wasn’t there, but nobody likes to lose.” She did add that most of the other players were “gracious above what was socially necessary.” 

Pressed to share details about the mean contestant, Collins shared what she remembered.

“It was like, ‘If you hadn’t gotten that one question, I would’ve won,’” she said. “That actually colored my memory of the game, but watching the game later on TV, I realized this is not how things went down.”

She continued, saying the exchange happened when everyone chatted following the game. And, according to Collins, Trebek responded to the mean comment. 

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“This person said it when we were talking at the end and Alex says, ‘Well, sometimes you get a tough break and that’s what happens.’ I don’t remember if I said anything, but Alex tried to smooth things over,” Collins said. 

Trebek is known for his quick wit and sometimes shady comments on the show. It’s not too surprising he’d reply to a disgruntled contestant. 

Julia Collins now runs her own nonprofit

Following her epic Jeopardy! winning streak, Collins founded her own nonprofit organization, Girls Like You and Me, which highlights how “smart women found careers they love.”

According to the charity’s website, the media attention Collins received “made her think about how we talk about smart women who are doing cool stuff.” And thus her nonprofit was born.

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