I’ll take “Quiz Show Phenoms” for $1000, Alex

Not being a dinner-hour TV viewer I’ve missed the controversy surrounding Ken Jennings, the current ‘Jeopardy’ champion, who is on a 26-show winning streak.

Jennings, who in last night’s airing admitted that “being a nerd really pays off sometimes,” is the first contestant to go on a long winning streak since the show scrapped its former five-day limit on appearances. Jennings, the father of a 1-year-old who plans to donate 10 percent of his winnings to the Mormon church, looks a little like a benign Alfred E. Newman. He is a veteran of high school and college quiz shows and edits questions for national quiz bowl competitions.

I don’t want this blog to turn into a David Foster Wallace fan-site, but I’m immediately reminded of his story, “Little Expressionless Animals.” (Can’t find a full version online, but you can read the first six pages of it here.)

So will the network bring in a long-lost sibling to knock down Jennings? Tune in and see!

Related: Quiz Show. (Whatever happened to Rob Morrow?)

UPDATE: For a nice essay on Ken Jennings, including some intriguing predictions as to how his run will end, check out Jeff Bryant’s take on Syntax of Things. Also, Dana Stevens at Slate has a good take on it as well.

(Gosh, I leave my keyboard for a few days and everyone gets way ahead of me. That’ll teach me. And I still don’t know what’s become of Rob Morrow. Can someone get on that and get back to me? I’ll be outside weeding.)