Ken Jennings delivers ‘mean’ message to Jeopardy! contestant on live TV: ‘I did not see that coming’

ken jennings poses at the ABC Winter TCA Party at the Langham Huntington Hotel
Ken had some fun with a Jeopardy! contestant during a surprise appearance. Pic credit: ©

Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings had some fun razzing a contestant during an on-air moment that completely caught them off guard.

Former Jeopardy! contestant Sean McShane, a Boston College graduate, appeared on CBS Boston’s morning segment to discuss his tenure on the popular weeknight quiz show.

During his time on Jeopardy!, Sean came away with three wins and over $82,000 in cash prizes in December.

Sean’s performance qualified him for the Tournament of Champions

Currently, Jeopardy Champions Wildcard is underway, giving a second chance to other former Jeopardy! contenders who didn’t qualify for the Tournament of Champions.

As Sean explained to CBS Boston’s host, he believed he would possibly return for the wildcard tourney.

Ken Jennings surprises former Jeopardy! contestant with some good news on live television

During his interview, Sean was taken aback when the show’s host interrupted their chat with a pre-recorded video from Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but we are not going to be able to invite you back for our Champions Wildcard competition,” Ken began his message with seriousness in his voice.

But after pausing for a few seconds, Ken excitedly added, “Because you’re going straight to the Tournament of Champions! Congratulations, Sean, we’ll see you back here soon.”

Given the expression on his face, Sean was genuinely shocked by Ken’s message and was obviously delighted to discover that Ken was just pulling his leg before delivering the good news.

After his appearance on CBS Boston, Sean spoke with The New York Post, Sean admitted that he was “thinking in the back of my head that they were going to invite me to the wildcard tournament.”

Sean added that he initially believed that Ken was delivering some bad news but quickly realized it was all in jest.

Sean McShane admits he thought Ken was being ‘mean’

“I should have realized what he was doing, but for two seconds in my head, I really thought, ‘Wow, this seems mean,'” Sean admitted.

“That was genuine shock on my face,” Sean added. “I did not see that coming.”

“That hope to get called back was always in the back of my mind, but I kept telling myself to just be happy with what I got,” Sean continued.

“It was a welcome surprise. It’s nice to know that everyone feels that I’m worthy to go back and compete.”

The Long Island, New York native will return for the Tournament of Champions and expects that he’ll face off against Ray Lalonde, who is responsible for eliminating Sean.

Sean told The New York Post that his former opponent Ray was a “machine” on the buzzer and was “just unbeatable.”

Jeopardy! fans will get to watch Sean and Ray go head-to-head early next year as the Tournament of Champions films in February 2024.

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