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'The Floor' with Rob Lowe: $250,000 winner Jacquelyn Kenny was initially a game show alternate

Kenny had her eyes on the grand prize, with a unique strategy that pushed her to the end

'The Floor' with Rob Lowe: $250,000 winner Jacquelyn Kenny was initially a game show alternate
'The Floor' with Rob Lowe: $250,000 winner Jacquelyn Kenny was initially a game show alternate

For Jacquelyn Kenny who lives in New York City, a uniquely smart strategy brought her a $250,000 win on the game show The Floor, hosted and produced by Rob Lowe.

FOX via Getty Images

Watch all episodes of The Floor Season 1 on Prime Video by adding the STACKTV channel to your subscription with a 14-day free trial, then $12.99/month

$13 at Prime Video

The concept of The Floor begins with 81 people, each standing on a square on "The Floor." Every player represents their personal expert category. The game begins with a randomizer selecting a tile. That player can then choose a contestant next to them to compete against.

Each player has to list as many items in the category in 45 seconds. The winner adopts the loser's category and has two options. They can stay and duel someone next to them on the grid, or pass and go back to The Floor, and have the randomizer land on someone else to compete. That process is repeated until there are two players left, and the person who controls most of the territory wins.

Kenny had an interesting approach. Even though she could have received an additional $20,000 for choosing to duel, her strategy was to focus on the grand prize. When she won her first expert category, TV hosts, she decided to go back to The Floor and wait for someone to challenge her.

"It's tough when you're up there too, because ... you want to keep going, you have the adrenaline," Kenny said. "I was not letting Rob or the audience, or anyone, sway my decision."

"I think once I won musicals, that was really the key decision of if I stay up there, because I was feeling good. You've got your adrenaline, you got a little confidence that you've won two duels, I thought I could keep going and I almost did, because I felt really good about fast food. I ate too much fast food as a kid. ... I remember even going back to the floor thinking, oh man, ... I probably could have gotten $20,000. ... The risk is if you keep going, you might lose. So I was like no, play it safe. Let's go back."

From alternate to grand prize winner

What's even more interesting about Kenny's win is that originally, she was actually an alternate for the game.

Kenny, who described herself as a particularly competitive person who loves trivia, saw an ad on Instagram urging trivia fans to apply to a show, back in 2020, and got one interview. Time passed and she got an email from the casting company saying that a new game show is happening.

"[It] didn't have much information on it, except it was a trivia-based game," Kenny said. "Went through the basic interview process, doing picture-style kind of questions, like the format of [The Floor]."

"I did really well on that and ... then I didn't really hear back for a while. I was like, nope, OK I guess I didn't get it, ... and I got the email saying I was an alternate. I was very bummed, I was sad. I was like, I'm not going to get to participate. And then 48 hours prior to leaving for filming, I got the email like, 'Hey, you've made it. Here's your flight info, get ready, you're going to film.' So I was ecstatic, but also really nervous."

Kenny said it's "still a dream" that she was on the show, and actual won the grand prize.

FOX via Getty Images

Watch all episodes of The Floor Season 1 on Prime Video by adding the STACKTV channel to your subscription with a 14-day free trial, then $12.99/month

$13 at Prime Video

In terms of how the logistics of the show actually worked, the contestants didn't have the final say of their initial expert category, but they got a sense based on their conversations with the production's team

"We weren't able to fully get the final decision on our category, however we very much knew, I think, where we would fit in, just based on the conversations we did have," Kenny said. "I knew very much that I would be someone in like a pop culture realm, ... I'm a massive TV show nerd, any type, daytime talk shows, game shows, et cetera."

"Then we didn't find out ... what our expert category was until just right before filming."

For any hopeful contestants on The Floor, Kenny's best advice is to be mindful of time, including using the "pass" ability to your advantage, despite the three-second penalty.

"Being able to pass, that is your best friend," Kenny said. "I think people would forget that you could pass if you saw a question you didn't know the answer to, and if you pass quickly, you've only lost three seconds on your timer."

"If you try to keep guessing ... wrong answers, you're burning out your own clock, and I think that was so interesting. ... You're not competing against the other person, ... you're competing against yourself and your own clock. ... And take out like the 'um' or anything as much as possible, because if it comes down to a second it could be that breath right before you say the answer that cost you."

THE FLOOR: L-R: Contestant Arthur, Host Rob Lowe and Contestant Jacquelyn in part-two of the
THE FLOOR: L-R: Contestant Arthur, Host Rob Lowe and Contestant Jacquelyn in part-two of the "All Hail The Floor/Tonight Makes History" two-hour season finale episode of THE FLOOR airing Tuesday, Feb. 27 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

'The hardest, longest secret I've ever had to keep in my entire life'

Since winning The Floor, Kenny has been happy she can share the moment with her friends and family.

"It really has been the hardest, longest secret I've ever had to keep in my entire life," Kenny said. "Now to just be able to really talk about it and share in that moment, being able to tell my parents, we had the most epic moment together, which is something that I'll forever cherish."

She also praised Lowe for being such a great host.

"He's exactly how you picture Rob Lowe, so fun, so charismatic, just a class act," Kenny said. "I will admit, I was starstruck when I got up on the podium."

"I recently started, right before filming, watching The West Wing ... for the first time through. ... So I was a little nervous meeting him, but he definitely made us feel comfortable when we got up there. ... An incredible host and producer of the show, I think people forget too that this is kind of his baby. So thank you, Rob, for being an amazing host, but also bringing this show to life. I owe you $250,000 worth of thank yous."

Even though there were 81 contestants, far more than most game shows, they still keep in touch through a group chat. But Kenny says this might not be the end of her competition show career.

"I would do another show in a heartbeat," she said. "I've really enjoyed this entire process from start to finish."

"The competitive nature in me, it was just so fun to be able to bring that out. ... I would love to do Amazing Race or Big Brother."

In terms of how Kenny plans to spend her $250,000, she'll start with paying off some credit card bills, living in expensive New York City, but she also wants to take her family on a vacation.

"They've given me so much joy in my life," Kenny said. "They've been my number one fans in everything that I do, so I really want to be able to treat them back and have a special once in a lifetime vacation with them."

But Kenny also loves fashion, so a new purse may be in her future as well. Maybe even a popular Hermès Birkin, known to increase in value over time.