Alex Trebek Almost Makes 12-Year-Old Jeopardy! Contestant Cry

Celebrity News Aug. 6, 2013 AT 11:45AM
Alex Trebek on September 20, 2011 in Culver City, California Alex Trebek nearly made 12-year-old Jeopardy! contestant Thomas Hurley III cry after he misspelled a word during the Final Jeopardy round. Credit: Beck Starr/WireImage.com

Sometimes Jeopardy! isn't all fun and games. Host Alex Trebek is feeling the heat after causing eighth grader Thomas Hurley III to nearly cry during the Final Jeopardy! round during an episode of the game show on Wednesday, July 31. The Newtown, Conn., resident believes he was cheated out of $3,000 because his final answer was misspelled.

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"I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final Jeopardy! question," he told The News-Times of Danbury. "It was just a spelling error."

The question Hurley received was, "Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, 'a fit and necessary war measure.'" He answered it correctly, but unfortunately added an extra "t" making the word "emanciptation," ultimately, losing out on the $3,000 he bet.

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Adding to the sting, the 73-year-old host also showed just how correct contestant Skyler Hornback -- who eventually took first place with $66,000 -- was with his answer. "It is spelled correctly also," Trebek pointed out.

"The thing that bothered me most was the way Alex Trebek and the producers treated my son. They were kind of smug," Hurley's father, Thomas Hurley II, told CNN on Sunday, Aug. 4. "It's a kid's tournament! Everyone knew what he meant."

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For now though, the producers of the ABC series aren't budging. In a statement, they 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."

Though Hurley III wouldn't have taken first place anyway, he eventually took home $2,000 in second place.

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