‘Jeopardy!’ Star Ken Jennings Is Forbidden From Appearing on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Ken Jennings is one of the most famous Jeopardy! contestants of all time. Even years after his record-breaking streak on the show, Jennings showed up for the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament to prove that he’s still the best.

The game show fame has inspired fans to wonder if Jennings would ever use his skills to play some other television games and win even more money. But if the 46-year-old former software programmer does have his sights set on winning more cash and prizes, it won’t be on Wheel of Fortune. That’s because he’s forbidden from appearing on the show — at least for now.

Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings | Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Ken Jennings is forbidden from appearing on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Even though Jennings could make a killing on Wheel of Fortune, you won’t see him joking around with Pat Sajak anytime soon. That’s because there’s a little-known rule that Jeopardy! contestants cannot appear on Wheel of Fortune within a year of going on other game shows, including Jeopardy!. And since Jennings participated in the Jeopardy! tournament in 2020, that makes him ineligible for Wheel of Fortune.

But even if he were allowed, Jennings wouldn’t necessarily have the same success anyway. The two shows require vastly different skills and Jennings most likely wouldn’t do as well on that format of game show.

Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak switched places once

Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak
Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Knowing that the two are sister shows helps explain one interesting event from April Fool’s Day 1997. That was the day Sajak showed up to host Jeopardy! while Trebek surprised fans on Wheel of Fortune when he hosted alongside Sajak’s wife, Lesly.

Both hosts are known for running their respective game shows for decades. But that doesn’t mean they’re friends. “We get along fine,” Sajak said of Trebek, “but we’re not in the same bowling league.”

Ken Jennings tries not to act like a know it all

Even though he’s been crowned the best of the best, Jennings promised he doesn’t want to act like a know-it-all, even if he does have bragging rights.

“I’m self-aware enough that I realized it wasn’t cool to know everything or to appear to know everything or to be pedantic. It’s really a personality trait that I find unappealing in others. So, I really try to dial it down,” he said.

But one thing that changed was openly advertising his trivia genius. “I kind of spent my whole life in the closet,” Jennings continued, “as far as not feeling comfortable being a trivia person because it seems a little bit embarrassing. If nothing else, winning that first time on Jeopardy! kind of busted me out of that closet, and I’m most famous for being a trivia geek no matter what else I do now.”


How Much Money Did Ken Jennings Win on ‘Jeopardy!’?

Will Ken Jennings host ‘Jeopardy!’ when Alex Trebek retires?

Jennings became so famous on Jeopardy! that some fans assume he’s poised to become the next host of the show when Trebek retires. But he’s not ready to think about that yet.

“It’s very flattering because I’m such a huge fan of the show,” Jennings said. “To even think about that would require imagining a version of Jeopardy! without Alex, and I’m not emotionally prepared to do that at any point.”

Becoming the Jeopardy! host would make it impossible for Jennings to ever appear on Wheel of Fortune, per game rules.