CULVER CITY, CA - Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek is making his feelings known for the game show's current champion, software engineer Ken Jennings from Salt Lake City, Utah.
"I wish he'd just lose," Trebek was quoted as saying to a make-up artist before a taping of the quiz show. "He's getting a little cocky, and I want to slap him - badly."
Jennings, who as of this writing has won $1,246,660, has been on the show for 37 days and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he recently purchased a double-wide trailer and parked it outside the Sony Studios so he can stay closer to the action.
His winning streak has also hindered the search for quality contestants, which may explain why it remains intact. Turnouts for Jeopardy! auditions are at an all-time low, and producers are pointing their collective finger at the nerdy champion.
"People are just not willing to take him on," says one producer. "There's only so many places that we can hunt for good contestants. Some of the more recent contestants were actually homeless people that we made up for the show."
But what makes Trebek and the producers most livid?
The single-day record for winnings is $52,000, which Jennings has reached twice. In Final Jeopardy, he intentionally risks an amount that, if he wins, will take make his final winnings equal $52,000 and nothing more.
"That's asinine," Trebek spouts. "Just risk it all or risk nothing. The show's turning into a [expletive] joke, and I'm tired of it. He needs his [expletive] [expletive] kicked and hard."
The 30-year-old Jennings, who collects Hot Wheels, comic books and Strawberry Shortcake figurines, remains committed to making the show pay for lifting their 5-day limit on champions.
"Why should I stop? I'm smart and I know it," Jennings says of his time on the show. "Alex needs to lighten up a bit because I'm going to be here longer than he thinks."
So get comfy, Alex. The ride isn't over yet.