WARNING! Major spoilers ahead for Jeopardy!
Leaked footage from the newest Jeopardy! episode reveals whether or not James Holzhauer’s winning streak breaks the all-time record. After snagging his 32nd consecutive win, the sports gambler from Vegas was on track to surpass Jeopardy's all-time champion, Ken Jennings.
Jeopardy! has made waves in the headlines over the years with a mid-game marriage proposal, a contestant winning with just $1, numerous parodies on SNL, and the recent shocking news of Trebek’s own cancer diagnosis. Holzhauer’s winning streak quickly became one of the most talked about aspects of the show. 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 dive into than adult reference books. As it stands, the reigning Jeopardy! champion is Ken Jennings, who ended up with just over 2.5 million in 74 games. Recently, Jennings stated that the public referring to Holzhauer as “Jeopardy James” needs to stop - as that title belongs to him. Now, it's apparent Jennings remains safe on the Jeopardy throne.
Monday's episode - which airs in syndication at different times across the U.S. - reveals that Holzhauer lost the game, albeit with the correct answer. Going into Monday’s taping, Holzhauer was just $58,484 short of Jenning’s all-time record for regular play. According to CNN, after Holzhauer dominated the first round, opponent Emma Boettcher bet her entire total on a Daily Double. In Final Jeopardy, the category was “Shakespeare's Times”. Third place player, Jay Sexton, correctly guessed poet Christopher Kit Marlowe, to the clue. Trebek called on Holzhauer next, who also had the correct answer, but with an uncharacteristically modest bet. Voice dripping with suspense, Trebek said to Boettcher, “So, Emma, it’s up to you - if you come up with the correct response, you’re going to be the new Jeopardy champion. Did you?” A high-five shared between Boettcher and Holzhauer officially signed off his time on Jeopardy!. The result was revealed by a leaked clip, which Sony has since had taken down.
Boettcher now stands a chance to become the next Jeopardy! champion. In 2016, the 27-year-old librarian from Chicago wrote her master’s paper on “Predicting the difficulty of trivia questions using text features” - which relied on Jeopardy! clues. As for Holzhauer, he hasn't fully disclosed his thoughts on losing, but he did take to Twitter to make a perfect joke, a reference to the ongoing NBA Finals.
It was inevitable that Holzhauer’s winning streak would one day come to an end. However, even though Holzhauer lost on Jeopardy!, the trivia show made him a household name. It's expected for competition shows such as The Voice and American Idol to create celebrities, but surprisingly, game shows have done the same over the years. Jeopardy! has left contestants Holzhauer, Jennings and Brad Rutter with an astronomical paycheck. The Price is Right has featured Aaron Paul, Linda Cardellini, and Ted Slauson - who's now the center of Netflix documentary The Perfect Bid. Overall, it's the familiarity of Trebek and the show’s unique formula that keeps viewers tuned in to Jeopardy! - America’s favorite game show.