Jeopardy! Whiz Becomes Encarta Spokesman
Microsoft has tapped Jeopardy! king Ken Jennings, who recently finished his 75-game run on the show, to become the spokesman for its Encarta product line. Jennings will embark on a nationwide media tour called "Quiz the Whiz" that challenges news desks to stump the human encyclopedia with questions from Microsoft's Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005.
Jennings broke the game show record books this year and attracted a cult following by answering 2,700 Jeopardy! questions and raking in over $2.5 million in winnings. Before he takes off to Europe with his family next summer, Jennings hopes to pass on some of his passion for learning.
"It seems like a natural fit: Encarta has a long-standing commitment to furthering education, and I've had a lot of kids tell me that watching me on "Jeopardy!" has made reading and learning seem just a little cooler," Jennings told Microsoft in an interview.
Jennings also warned against relying solely on the Internet for researching information. "The Internet can be an incredible resource, but the scary thing is you never know what's out there or whether the answer you will find will be accurate. In fact, out of curiosity I searched for myself once and turned up all sorts of erroneous information," he said. "One seemingly reputable and authoritative page even had my name wrong!"
Ironically, Microsoft also mixed up his name in the interview, referring to the trivia whiz as "Jenkins."