James Holzhauer is set to return to Jeopardy! for the Tournament of Champions. Legendary and perdurable Jeopardy!, consisting of host Alex Trebek and blue box panels, has sported a fair share of champions over the years. Former contestant Holzhauer took Jeopardy! by a storm with his dominating gameplay and snagged 32 consecutive wins - putting him on track to surpass Jeopardy!’s all-time champion, Ken Jennings.
Earlier this year, Trebek revealed in a somber message that he'd been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Trebek’s announcement coincided with the game-changing antics of Holzhauer, and viewers of Jeopardy! became enthralled by Holzhauer’s winning streak and Trebek’s hosting performances. In April, Holzhauer became the second person ever to surpass $1 million in non-tournament play. He attributed his vast array of knowledge to children’s literature - claiming those books were easier to mentally digest than adult reference books. However, Holzhauer’s time on Jeopardy! came to an end when he lost a game to librarian Emma Boettcher, albeit with the correct answer. Ultimately, Holzhauer walked away with $2,462,216 in earnings, and a steadfast reputation on America’s favorite game show. Now, the Jeopardy! podiums will feature Holzhauer behind them once again.
According to EW, Holzhauer has a guaranteed spot on the upcoming Tournament of Champions. The special-edition of Jeopardy! has also added Boettcher to the slate, setting up the two former champions to potentially face-off for a second time. Vying for a grand prize of $250,000, the 15 players are compiled from contestants who won the most games since the previous tournament. The game will also feature winners from the College Championship and Teacher's Tournament. Holzhauer is the most recognized contestant, and tops the list with 32 games under his belt - the second highest is Josh Hill with 7 games. The ten-day event is set to air in syndication from November 4 to 15.
Trebek has since revealed that his cancer is nearing remission. Despite speculation of Jeopardy! seeking out a replacement host, Trebek is still under contract with the show for the next three years. Trebek and Holzhauer appear to have formed a unique bond from their time together on the show. Recently, Holzhauer donated a portion of his game show earnings to battle cancer in Trebek’s name. A seemingly odd amount, the $1109.14 donated is attributed to Holzhauer’s daughter’s birthday - November 9, 2014. Since the Tournament is set to air during that time, perhaps an honorable mention will be given to the date if Holzhauer is still competing.
Trebek’s battle with cancer and Holzhauer’s winning streak made season 35 of the seemingly docile game show a hot commodity. Fans are eager to see Holzhauer compete against Boettcher, however, the tournament would generate more buzz if Jennings were attached - especially after his comments regarding Holzhauer’s streak. Nevertheless, Holzhauer returning to the platform will provide a new level of excitement and entertainment for Jeopardy! - and further boost talk of Holzhauer replacing Trebek as host.