Entertainment

Who Is Austin Rogers? Quirky 'Jeopardy!' Champ Finally Loses

The quirky New York City bartender who won over “Jeopardy!” viewers — and took home more than $400,000 in winnings — had his winning streak snapped after 12 days Thursday night. 

Austin Rogers was eliminated from the popular quiz show Thursday night after the evening’s champion, Scarlett Simms of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, outbid him during Final Jeopardy, in which they both wrote the correct question, “What is ‘It’s a Wonderful Life?'” Simms out-earned Rogers by just $50: $33,201 to his $33,150.

After having his streak snapped, Rogers stayed true to his outside-the-mold form, emphatically congratulating Simms.

Rogers ends his run with $413,000 in winnings. A spokeswoman for the show said before Thursday evening’s contest that his winnings after 12 days — $411,000 —put him in fifth place in “Jeopardy!” all-time regular season winnings. 

It comes nearly two weeks after the Manhattanite gained internet notoriety for his goofy gestures and non-Jeopardy-like reactions to trivia prompts. Regular Jeopardy viewers have loved (or loved to hate) his unorthodox wagering, quirky delivery and scruffy look.

“He’s got hair, he’s got chutzpah and broad-based knowledge,” host Alex Trebek said of the champion during a game last week. 

Rogers, raised in suburban Westchester County, told NBC he credited his Jeopardy success with getting right the questions that would typically go unanswered during the game.

“In Jeopardy, you have to assume that every contestant knows the same 85 to 90 percent base,” he said. “It’s knowing these one or two that only specialization or random happenstance that allows you to get ahead.”

He added, “My knowledge filled the gaps a typical Jeopardy contestant would not know.”

Despite Rogers’ quick rise in notoriety, he’s far from the longest-running Jeopardy champion. That honor belongs to Ken Jennings, who won 74 consecutive games before being eliminated in 2004. Jennings took home more than $2.5 million in his nearly three-month tenure on the show.

Rogers will return, though, to compete in the two-week “Jeopardy!” tournament of champions starting Nov. 6.

Published at 5:09 PM PDT on Oct 12, 2017 | Updated 44 minutes ago

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