Jeopardy! The Greatest of All-Time Tournament
Next game: Tuesday, Jan. 14
Time: 8 p.m.
Streaming: ABC app (requires cable login), fuboTV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, DirecTV Now (all require a subscription)
What is an epic showdown?
Jeopardy! viewers will get the answer to that question and more as the show continues its highly anticipated “Greatest of All Time” tournament Tuesday on 6ABC starting at 8 p.m.
The first-of-its-kind tournament, hosted by Alex Trebek, has been a trivia-fueled battle royal featuring the most successful three contestants in the show’s history: All-time wins champion Ken Jennings; top earnings winner and Lancaster native Brad Rutter; and professional gambler James Holzhauer, whose 32-game winning streak last year garnered the show’s highest TV ratings in four years.
So far, Jennings has taken home two games, while Holzhauer has won one. Rutter don’t have any wins, and has finished a distant third each night. The tournament has garnered monster ratings, averaging close to 15 million viewers a night in same-day ratings across its first three nights. That’s 3 million more viewers than any other non-sports shows this season, and more than all but one of ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts.
It’s hard not to think of this Jeopardy! tournament as a possible cap to Trebek’s career, considering the longtime host is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. During a recent interview on Good Morning America, Trebek revealed he’s begun to practice what he will say when it comes time to say goodbye to the show he’s hosted for 36 years. But until his skills diminish, he’s still working, and says he’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support he’s received.
“People all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I’m alive, about the impact that I’ve been having on their existence,” Trebek said on GMA in late December. “They have come out and they have told me, and my gosh, it makes me feel so good."
The rules for Jeopardy!’s “Greatest of All Time” are unlike any previous tournaments, so here’s everything you need to know ahead of the epic competition:
What is the format of Jeopardy!'s champions tournament, and how many nights will it run?
Each night, the tournament will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern and run a full hour, consisting of two back-to-back 30-minute shows. The contestant with the highest cumulative total at the end of the evening will win the “match.”
The first contestant to win three matches will be named the show’s “Greatest of All Time,” hence the title. The tournament could end Tuesday night if Jennings wins his third match, but if either Holzhauer or Rutter win, the even could extend all the way until Friday, Jan. 17.
Who are the three Jeopardy! contestants, and how much money have they won?
Ken Jennings: A former computer software engineer whose first run on the show aired back in 2004, Jennings holds the show’s records for consecutive games won (74) and highest regular-season earnings ($2.5 million). Including tournaments and specials, Jennings has taken home $3.4 million from Jeopardy!.
James Holzhauer: During his exciting 32-game run last year, Holzhauer piled up the winnings more than any contestant in the show’s history. Not only did he set the show’s single-game earnings record at a whopping $131,127, he holds the top 10 single-game totals. Thanks to the $250,000 he won during the recent “Tournament of Champions,” Holzhauer’s total Jeopardy! winnings come to $2.7 million.
Brad Rutter: The Lancaster native is the show’s all-time greatest winner, with a total of $4.7 million in earnings. But during his initial run in 2000, Jeopardy! capped winning streaks at five days (the rules were changed in 2003), so Rutter has won the bulk of his money in various Jeopardy! tournaments over the years.
Does the GOAT tournament have a cash prize?
The winner of the tournament will walk away with $1 million, while the two other contestants will each take home $250,000. Not a bad paycheck for what could amount to a few days work (taping for the tournament began Dec. 10 and lasted just a couple of days, according to ESPN).
Regardless who wins, Rutter has such a massive lead in terms of overall cash winnings (nearly $1.32 million more than Jennings going into the tournament) that he will remain Jeopardy!'s all-time earnings champ no matter what.
Will regular ‘Jeopardy!’ episodes continue to air while the tournament is going on?
Yes. Because the special Jeopardy! tournament is airing in prime time, the show will also air in its regular slot on 6ABC at 7 p.m., ahead of Wheel of Fortune. So trivia buffs will certainly get their fill.