'Jeopardy' Kids Week contestant feels 'cheated' after losing from spelling mistake


A competitor on "Jeopardy!" during the quiz show's recent Kids Week is speaking out after an untimely misspelling cost him money and left him feeling, as he says, "cheated."

Thomas Hurley III, a 12-year-old Newtown, Connecticut resident, wagered $3,000 of his $9,600 on the show's Final Jeopardy! round. With the category "The Civil War," the answer provided was "Abraham Lincoln called this document which took effect in 1863, 'a fit and necessary war measure.'"

Hurley III's written response: "What is the Emanciptation Proclamation?"

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Though he knew the answer, he wasn't awarded his wager because he "misspelled it badly," as host Alex Trebek said, nothing that the judges were ruling against him.

"I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final 'Jeopardy!' question," the youngster told the Dansbury News-Times, recalling the February taping. (The episode aired on Wednesday, July 31.) "It was just a spelling error."

While there have been plenty who have sided with Hurley III, including his own father, Thomas Hurley II, (who called Trebek "smug" and said everyone knew what his son meant when speaking with CNN), the show stands by its ruling.

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In a statement, producers for the series said, "If 'Jeopardy!' were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show, and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."

Ultimately, it wouldn't have mattered if Hurley III had been deemed correct. He still would have taken second place after running up against competitor Skyler Hornback, who set an all-time record for kids with $66,600 -- also the third-largest one-day total in the show's history.

Do you think "Jeopardy!" treated Hurley III unfairly?
Photo/Video credit: Jeopardy!