Memo to Alex Trebek: your viewers are nerds

Paul HiebertData Journalist
October 21, 2016, 6:47 PM GMT+0

New data reveals that people who watch 'Jeopardy!' report being better educated yet less socially skilled than average

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek made headlines recently for calling fans of nerdcore — a niche hip hop genre that explores comic books, science fiction, and geek culture at large — a bunch of "losers." What made Trebek's rather awkward joke seem extra cruel, however, was that he said it right after a contestant on the long-running quiz show had just explained why nerdcore is her favorite type of music. Soon after, a medley of nerdcore artists banded together to produce a diss track titled "Who is Alex Trebek?"

What makes Trebek's comment ironic, of course, is that Jeopardy! viewers tend to get labeled as nerds themselves — and for good reason. New data from YouGov Profiles shows that people who've watched Jeopardy! in the past year, either live or via streaming, are far more likely than the average American to have a higher education. Indeed, 47% of Jeopardy! fans either have a 4-year college degree or post-graduate degree compared to just 26% of the general population.

Apart from formal education, viewers of Jeopardy! are also more likely than the average person to claim they're particularly gifted with a strong memory and mathematical intelligence. 37% describe themselves as avid readers, too, compared to 28% of Americans in general.

But Jeopardy! fans aren't without their faults. Trebek's audience admits they're weaker than average when it comes to emotional intelligence and social skills. Fewer are apt to work the room at a party, either.

Overall, people who watch Jeopardy! are more likely to be female than male, vote Democrat than Republican, and live in the suburbs as opposed to a city or town. As for age, they're most likely to be Baby Boomers aged 50-64 and least likely to be Gen Xers aged 35-49. Illustrating the show's generational appeal, 26% of its viewers are Millennials aged 18-34, while a similar percentage (28%) are 65 years old or older.

But perhaps the common element that binds them all together is their nerdiness. As one nerdcore rapper put it in the diss track aimed at Trebek for insulting nerds everywhere: "Guess you hadn't heard, geeks make up half of your viewership."