“Jeopardy!” has never been more popular. Now America’s premier answer-and-question general knowledge quiz show is bigger and better than ever before with the Greatest of All Time tournament.
Consider it to be the ultimate tournament of champions, as the three best and winningest players in the modern version of the game’s 36-year history — Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer — battle to become known as the GOAT player.
While the regular half-hour edition of the show continues to air in syndication, “Jeopardy! GOAT,” taped in December, is playing out in prime time for a national audience with host Alex Trebek. Trebek, 79, continues to battle Stage 4 pancreatic cancer while attending to his emcee duties.
Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about “Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Time” tournament, including how it works and a full TV schedule to watch the braniac drama play out over the next week or two:
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time format, explained
Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holtzhauer are battling for a $1 million jackpot in addition to their previous winnings. The first player to win three hour-long matches will take home the top prize. Each match consists of two regular games featuring the Jeopardy!, Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy! rounds, including the typical three Daily Doubles. The two runners-up will settle for a $250,000 prize each.
With three champions who have dominated lesser opponents in their various past “Jeopardy!” runs, the degree of difficulty has been raised. The answers are more difficult, leading to few more missed questions than usual despite he highest caliber of players.
Before the $1.5 million in total prizes are awarded, the dollar values on the board instead show up as point values.
Jeopardy! schedule: How to watch GOAT tournament
The first night of pre-recorded matches aired on Tuesday, Jan. 7. The tournament could last nearly two weeks if necessary, with the final episode shown Friday, Jan. 17. All episodes are broadcast on ABC.
Here’s the Jeopardy! TV schedule for the entire tournament:
|Episode||Date||Time (TV channel)|
|Match 1||Tuesday, Jan. 7||8-9 p.m. ET (ABC)|
|Match 2||Wednesday, Jan. 8||8-9 p.m. ET (ABC)|
|Match 3||Thursday, Jan. 9||8-9 p.m. ET (ABC)|
|Match 4||Tuesday, Jan. 14||8-9 p.m. ET (ABC)|
|Match 5 (if necessary)||Wednesday, Jan. 15||8-9 p.m. ET (ABC)|
|Match 6 (if necessary)||Thursday, Jan. 16||8-9 p.m. ET (ABC)|
|Match 7 (if necessary)||Friday Jan. 17||8-9 p.m. ET (ABC)|
Jeopardy! champions, contestants
Jennings, 45, holds the record for the longest winning streak in “Jeopardy!” history with his 74-game run in 2004, one year after the show removed its five-day limit on returning champions. He won $2.5 million during his original run and an additional $1 million-plus in other tournament appearances over the past 15 years. The Washington state native and BYU graduate was a software engineer when he first competed on the show. He now works as an author while living in the Seattle area.
Rutter, 41, went into GOAT having never lost in “Jeopardy!” play to a human contestant, including Jennings. Only IBM’s Watson could claim victory over him. Rutter has racked up $4.876 million playing “Jeopardy!” in various formats since his original capped five-day run in 2000, during which he won $97,102 in cash and prizes.
Since then, he’s won in the Tournament of Champions, the Million Dollar Masters, the Battle of the Decades, the Ultimate Tournament of Champions and as a team captain in the 2019 All-Star Games. The Pennsylvania native lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a TV host, producer and actor.
Holzhauer, 35, went on his 32-game “Jeopardy!” winning streak from April to June in 2019. During that run, he won more than $2.46 million before adding another $250,000 by winning the subsequent Tournament of Champions. The Naperville, Illinois native and University of Illinois graduate now is a professional sports gambler living in Las Vegas.
*** Warning: Spoilers beyond this point ***
Jeopardy! GOAT winners by episode
Match 1 winner: Ken Jennings
Jennings edged out Holzhauer by 200 points in the two-game match with 63,400 points, winning 45,000 and 18,400 points, respectively, in the two games. The match marked the first time Jennings has defeated Rutter, who uncharacteristically struggled on key Daily Doubles and finished a distant third.
Jennings needed to wager smartly and get both Final Jeopardy! questions right to hold off Holzhauer. Here’s what the answers were:
Category: Presidents & The Bible
Clue: “‘Silent’ Calvin Coolidge was inaugurated in 1925 on a Bible open to this six-word first line of the Gospel According to John.”
Correct response: What is ‘In the beginning was the Word’?
Clue: “This man’s name was given to a comet that crashed into Jupiter in 1994; he’s the only human whose remains lie on the moon.”
Correct response: Who is (Eugene) Shoemaker?
Match 2 winner: James Holzhauer
Holzhauer was only up 44,314 to 40,000 on Jennings after the first game, but he separated himself by dominating the second game, getting Final Jeopardy! right while Jennings missed. Rutter once again had a rough outing, earning only 14,400 and getting into the red with a negative score in the second game.
The favorite is now down a game to both Holzhauer and Jennings. Rutter will now need to rally to win three of the next five matches. The split also means the matches will go into at least next Tuesday. Here’s a look at the Final Jeopardy! clues:
Category: Influential Writing
Clue: “Its second line is ‘All The Powers of Old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope & Czar, Metternich & Gizot…’ “
Correct response: What is ‘The Communist Manifesto’?
Category: 19th Century Leaders
Clue: “Tall. lanky Joel Barlow was an ambassador carrying messages between these 2 world leaders, both mocked for being short.”
Correct response: Who are Napoleon and (James) Madison?