Baltimore has a new TV celebrity.
Emmett J. Stanton, a freelance writer, photographer, and train buff, is the current champion of “Jeopardy!,” defeating five-time winner Luigi de Guzman on the show that aired Friday.
After dominating the first round, Stanton fell to second place behind de Guzman going into Final Jeopardy. Although both got the final question correct, Stanton pulled ahead because he wagered more. His one-day total was $25,800 compared to de Guzman’s $19,551 and $1 for third-place finisher Melissa Woodall.
“Emmett Stanton, you are a Jeopardy champion!” host Ken Jennings declared.
On the program, Jennings introduced Stanton as a “freelance writer from Baltimore.” According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a writer and photographer specializing in human rights, ethnic conflict, and civilian displacement.
“He has worked across five continents, living in refugee camps from Bangladesh to Uganda, and reported on Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, Syrian child brides in Lebanon, protests in the Calais ‘jungle,’ and many other stories of the 21st century struggle towards human rights,” his biography states. “His work has featured in global publications as well as reports for NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and relief agencies.”
In the brief interview portion of the program, Stanton told Jennings he likes traveling by train – a fitting comment for someone from Baltimore, known as the birthplace of American railroading.
“I try to take the train whenever possible,” he told Jennings. “I travel a lot internationally for work and that’s a lot of long flights, so when I’m here home in the States, I’d rather take the train, take a little time to relax.”
It also could be a reason Stanton knows so much about a wide range of subjects: On the train, there are “books to read, movies to watch,” he noted.
In a posting on social media, Stanton said he traveled to the taping in California by train. His interest in train travel became a running theme of the show, such as when Woodall correctly responded to a clue about high-speed Maglev technology and Jennings noted that she “beat Emmett to a train question.” Another time, Jennings suggested that Stanton “could walk [de Guzman] through some time tables” for train travel.
Friday’s program was the final day of the first week of “Jeopardy!”‘s Season 39. Stanton showed his knowledge of a variety of topics, including people named Fred; “Geogra-fee;” “herstory;” abbreviations; magazine covers; Steinway pianos; Jai alai; the Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa; and Disney songs, the subject of the Final Jeopardy! category.
The clue was: “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from “Encanto” is the first song from an animated Disney film to hit No. 1 since this duet in 1993.”
The correct question: What is “A Whole New World” (from “Aladdin”)?
An attorney from Arlington, Virginia, de Guzman won enough in his first five days on Jeopardy! to qualify for the show’s Tournament of Champions in 2023 – $140,700 – but not enough on Friday’s show to come back this season.
Stanton will be back to defend his title during the show that airs tonight. His challengers: Suzanne Goss, an “oncology advertising consultant” from Brooklyn, New York, and Jason Freeman, an event producer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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