Kids Jeopardy contestant Thomas Hurley III was robbed last week by a barely-noticeable spelling error on Final Jeopardy - and he's not happy about it.
The 12-year-old misspelled the correct "Emancipation Proclamation" during the episode-ending round, and it did not count, outraging many viewers.
NOTE: Winner Skyler Hornback bet big and got the answer right, so even with the right spelling, Hurley wouldn't have walked away with the first prize.
Still he tells the Danbury (Conn.) News-Times, "I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final 'Jeopardy!' question. It was just a spelling error."
The Final Jeopardy question, phrased in the form of an answer: "Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, 'a fit and necessary war measure.'"
Hurley included an extra "t" and his response was deemed invalid.
"It generated a little bit of controversy," Hurley's mom Suzanne admitted. "He was a little stunned by it. He felt embarrassed. It was hard to watch."
The paper said the show lost Hurley as a fan, though he was proud to get a chance to go to California and play, winning a $2,000 consolation prize.
His family and friends are "proud of me," he said, but added, "It's just upsetting to have lost that way. I don't know why it would have counted as the wrong answer."
Producers told THR via email: "If 'Jeopardy!' were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players."
The show added, "We love presenting young people as contestants on our show and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."