Ken Jennings is just one win away from Jeopardy! immortality.
Jennings easily took home the win Thursday night during the third evening of the show’s epic prime time tournament, ending the night with 67,000 points, more than double James Holzhauer’s total. Jennings now has two wins, just one shy of winning the tournament and being proclaimed the show’s “Greatest of All Time" by host Alex Trebek.
» UPDATE: Game 4 comes down to Final Jeopardy
Jennings entered the second game of the night with a commanding 24,000-point lead and never took his foot off the pedal. He was helped along the way by Holzhauer’s uncharacteristic whiff on a Daily Double, where he incorrectly answered “What is diamond” for the clue: “This birthstone is used in abrasives for polishing and grinding; the color pairs with gold as an official one for Florida State.” (“What is garnet?” is the correct response.)
Lancaster native Brad Rutter once again played a minimal role and finished in a distant third place. His largest contribution was selecting both Daily Doubles during the second match’s Double Jeopardy round, keeping them out of the hands of Holzhauer. “You’re welcome,” Rutter said to Jennings after finding the second.
Holzhauer entered Final Jeopardy knowing he had no chance to defeat Jennings, so instead of answering the clue, he chose to honor Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak by writing: “Who is the GHOST? (Greatest host of syndicated TV). Alex Trebek.” But he began to write another name ahead of Trebek’s before crossing it out.
“You started to write Pat Sajak? Is that right?” Trebek asked. “I wish you had risked more points.”
The next match, which could be the final evening of the tournament if Jennings wins, will air Tuesday on ABC at 8 p.m. If Holzhauer or Rutter manage to win, Jeopardy! will add as many as three more nights (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday), until one contestant has won three matches. The champ will also walk away with a $1 million prize, while the two runner-ups will each earn $250,000.
Here are some more highlights from Wednesday’s competition: