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Ken Jennings: NBC Offered Me 'Million Second Quiz' Spot

The game show phenom says he received a call from NBC to appear on Monday's episode, but was told an hour later there had been a "miscommunication."

Million Second Quiz - H 2013
NBC
"The Million Second Quiz"

Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings says he was almost a contestant on NBC's ratings-challenged The Million Second Quiz.

Jennings woke up to a phone call Saturday with an offer to be flown to New York to appear on the quiz program in primetime Monday, according to a blogpost from Jennings.

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"I couldn’t say no. I love game shows, even imperfect ones. I sent in some paperwork and had a plane ticket in my inbox by the time I sat down to brunch with my family," Jennings writes. "But an hour later, as the server was clearing our plates, my phone rang again. It was casting. There had been a 'miscommunication.' The network, for unspecified reasons, was not willing to fly 'trivia champions' in for the show. I couldn’t imagine why not, as they’ve been flying in suspiciously telegenic 'Line Jumpers' of many other descriptions. But evidently not me. I could fly myself to New York if I like, they said. I wouldn’t even have to wait in line."

Jennings turned down the offer to find his own passage to New York.

Million Second Quiz, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, has received increasingly bleak ratings since premiering Monday. It fell below a 1 rating with adults 18-49 for Friday's episode -- its lowest rating yet. The show has also been criticized for having a confusing premise, which sees contestants compete in trivia contests in an outdoor hourglass structure in Manhattan – and also features online interactive elements.

STORY: 'The Million Second Quiz' Looks to Make Mark on TV, Game-Show Landscape

The contest runs for 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds (1 million seconds) and airs in primetime every day on NBC, save for Sundays, when the NFL takes over at 8 p.m.

Jennings rose to fame in 2004 after an unprecedented winning streak on Jeopardy!  He holds the record for winning the most money on American game shows.

NBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.