Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ken Jennings has gone from winning $2.5 million on Jeopardy! to $11.16 on HQ Trivia

Photo: Handout (Getty Images)

“Affable trivia genius” used to be a dependable career, the sort of steady job one could count on to support a family. For Ken Jennings, that meant winning Jeopardy! 74 times in a row and pocketing more than $2.5 million in the process. Nowadays, thanks to Silicon Valley and the so-called “gig economy,” trivia savants like Jennings are being forced to ply their trade via apps like HQ Trivia, in exchange for $11.16.


Things got no better for Jennings the following day, when his cruel paymasters saw fit to reward him with just $4.95 for his dutiful recitation of general knowledge.

Of course, Jennings has an actual career as an author, podcaster, and hopefully eventual Alex Trebek replacement. And, while it is true that there is a lot more money to be won playing Jeopardy! than HQ Trivia, you’re probably far less likely to get to have sex on Trebek’s old mattress.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Jennings would still need to earn more money to reach the HQ cash-out point of $20; that limit was actually removed from the service roughly a month ago. We regret the error.


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About the author

Gabe Worgaftik

Contributor, The A.V. Club.