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Man Appears On TV Game Show Once Too Often, Loses $5,000

March 29, 1988

GARLAND, Texas (AP) _ D.J. Smith feels he’s been placed in double jeopardy because the TV game show ″Jeopardy″ won’t pay him the $5,000 he won and has banned him from the program.

The problem was that when Smith appeared on ″Jeopardy,″ less than a year had passed since he had played ″Wheel of Fortune.″ Game show rules enacted after a 1958 scandal prohibit contestants from appearing on game shows more than once a year.

Smith won $1,200 on ″Wheel of Fortune″ on Thanksgiving Day, and was disqualified from $5,000 in ″Jeopardy″ winnings.

″I feel like I’m in double jeopardy,″ said Smith, 55, a business analyst. ″They won’t give me my money, and they won’t let me be on the show again.″

A representative for ″Jeopardy,″ produced by Merv Griffin Enterprises and broadcast on ABC affiliates, invited Smith to Los Angeles in January to play in a seniors ″Jeopardy″ tournament.

Smith said he told the representative: ″That’s great 3/8 I was just on the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ a little while ago.″

But no one apparently caught the remark.

Smith said he mentioned his earlier appearance again when he filled out a registration form for ″Jeopardy.″

Prizes in the seniors tournament were awarded according to how many rounds each contestant survived. Smith said he compiled enough points for a berth in a semifinal contest and an automatic prize of $5,000.

But the next day, he said, he was told his appearance on ″Wheel″ disqualified him.

″We didn’t enjoy having to do that,″ said George Vosburgh, ″Jeopardy″ producer. ″Even though the network stressed (the rules), it got by him and it got by us.″

Game show officials withheld the $5,000 prize, awarding him the $1,000 quarterfinalist prize instead.

The networks established the one-year waiting period for game shows in the aftermath of a 1958 scandal in which answers to ″The $64,000 Question″ were given to contestants before the show.

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