Heartwarming / Jeopardy!

  • In an interview with QTV, Alex Trebek recalled an instance where a contestant on Jeopardy! held a meeting with her friends and family to see her on the show, but the episode was replaced by a local program. Alex commented that it didn't matter to the contestant that she miserably wound up in third place, but she wanted to see that event that was significant to her. When the contestant complained, Alex apologized (despite having no control over the happening) and sent her a video tape of the episode so that she and her friends could watch it instead of the contestant losing that spotlight as the next episodes went on.
    • This is now SOP for Jeopardy!; if a contestant's local market has preempted the episode, a copy of the episode can be requested for free. (If the contestant wants a copy of an episode that did air, it's over $100.)
  • November 19, 1986: In the last semifinal game in the 1986 Tournament of Champions, Lionel Goldbart found the last Daily Double in Double Jeopardy, and decided to place a true Daily Double, getting it right... but forgetting to phrase it as a question, and thus, not qualifying for Final Jeopardy. In FJ, Paul Rouffa adds "Way to go Lionel" to his winning response.
  • December 3, 1993: Frank Spangenberg won the 10th Anniversary Tournament by being the only one who identified playwright Wendy Wasserstein in the Final Jeopardy clue (especially noteworthy since the first game in the finals ended badly for him, having only $600 after a difficult Final Jeopardy). Shortly afterwards, Wasserstein's friends informed her about this, and she invited Frank to dinner.
  • November 30, 2004: Ken Jennings hugging Nancy Zerg, the contestant who defeated him on his 75th appearance.
  • About a month after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, New Orleans native Deborah Slattery happened to be a contestant. Each of her three games was prefaced by an announcement from Alex that Deborah and her family were safe.
  • March 27, 2013: Challenger Tom Carroll appears on the show, having tried out for 37 years before being selected. And he wins $32,000.
  • December 5, 2013: Before the Double Jeopardy! round, Alex points out a man who proposed to his fiancée in the audience. She said yes.
  • Arthur Chu (2014). While many fans have expressed ire about his gameplay, Chu has done a couple of genuinely heartwarming things, which would arguably make him an Anti-Hero.
  • The fact that many champions and players have become friends over the years. One particularly heartwarming case, the 1997 College Tournament winner Craig Barker recounts that two of his opponents started dating each other after the tournament, marrying years later.
  • Pre-2003: Any time a retiring 5-time champion wagers enough to tie with an opponent, making them the new champion.
  • Colby Burnett (2013) used his winnings to buy his mother (who had worked multiple jobs so that he could attend a good high school, and who had bought the encyclopedia set that started his love of learning) a house in the suburbs, so that she could move out of the dangerous neighborhood that Colby had grown up in.
    Colby: She deserved that much.
  • April 14, 2016: Alex opens the show by wishing his mother a happy 95th birthday, and is clearly on the verge of tears doing so.
  • December 2016: Contestant Cindy Stowell, who died of colon cancer before her seven-episode run aired, donating her winnings of $105,803 to cancer research. The producers, who knew she didn't have long to live, arranged for her to have the first available airdate after her audition, and sent her recordings of her games so she could see them.