Jennings won a record 74 consecutive games on Jeopardy in 2005
Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and the team behind the game show’s reboot may have to give up on their dream of reprising the duels that made them stars.
Jennings revealed last week that he had a heart attack in March, four months after falling and breaking his ankle.
He is now undergoing treatment for a blocked artery and said the procedure has jeopardised his chances of playing on the popular quiz show again.
Jennings spent 74 consecutive days at the top of the show’s leaderboard between 2004 and 2005 – a record held by only late astronaut Gordon Cooper.
The 44-year-old author said in a recent interview that the ongoing treatment meant he will almost certainly not play host Alex Trebek, only joking that the host could get his own back by returning for the show’s revival in September.
“I don’t know how much longer I can last,” Jennings said. “My doctors say they’re not putting pressure on this valve.
“My real fear is that this will trigger some kind of heart attack that would force them to find something bigger and more permanent.”
Jennings, whose 74 games set a world record for most consecutive wins by a Jeopardy contestant, posted strong regular results in the past week and now leads in the weekly top-money list.
The game show’s reboot features younger hosts Alex Trebek and fellow veteran, two-time champ Julia Collins.
It premiered earlier this year, won its time slot in each of its first two weeks, and has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy award for outstanding game show.
Its second season ends next month.
Jennings is appearing in the new film The Glass Castle and in a new stand-up comedy special.
By the end of last month, he had won $2.3 million for his career, far exceeding the $1.2 million he made when he was his winningest on Jeopardy.
He competed in the game show finale in 2005, losing in the final round to a then-unknown contestant known as Alex Trebek Jr.