Eleven wins and nearly $300,000 later, Arthur Chu was defeated on Jeopardy! Wednesday night. He was “brain-fogged” after the marathon taping, he tells Here & Now, but he wishes his competitor Diana Peloquin well.
During his reign, Chu faced a barrage of vitriol from fans of the show. Some critics called out his game theory strategy, others got personal.
“For whatever reason, it was like a perfect storm of different factors: the fact that my run was stretched out by those hiatuses, by the tournament they were running; the fact that there was this really strong negative reaction to me,” Chu tells Here & Now co-host Jeremy Hobson.
That reaction played out on Twitter, where Chu actively engaged with haters and live-tweeted the broadcasts. But it likely wasn’t just being on Twitter that drew attention, he says: “Maybe it’s also because I am funnier or more interesting than other people on Twitter, or maybe it’s because I’m much more obnoxious and annoying.”
As Code Switch reporter Hansi Lo Wang pointed out in February, Chu’s race also became part of the conversation.
“I kind of fit a certain stereotype of the hyperfocused, unlikable Asian nerd,” Chu told Wang. “And the fact that I’m the Asian guy means that I’m not the underdog, that I’m the bad guy. And some regular person who the audience can identify with is the underdog.”
But as he told 74-time Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings: “I think there isn’t much I would change if I could go back — I mean, the very fact that the ‘haters’ are the reason for me to, bizarrely, become a national celebrity means that if anything I owe the haters a favor for broadcasting their negative impression of me.”
Oh, and he hasn’t given up on Jeopardy! — or ruled out appearing on reality TV, he tells Here & Now:
“If it doesn’t interfere with my contract with Jeopardy!, you know, I’d definitely consider that — hopefully not a dating show, because I’m happily married, but a different reality show concept, maybe.”