TV

Ken Jennings Out to Early Lead in “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” Tournament

Epic Jeopardy! tourney features Jennings, Brad Rutter and rising star James Holzhauer

How Did "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time" Tournament Begin?
Former "Jeopardy!" champs Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer. ("Jeopardy!"/Instagram)
By Evan Bleier / January 8, 2020 10:11 am

On Tuesday night, former champs Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer began their competition for the title of “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.”

During two back-to-back Jeopardy! games in primetime, Jennings (who had a record 74-game winning streak), Rutter (who is the highest money winner of all time across any TV game show with total Jeopardy! winnings of $4,688,436) and Holzhauer (who has all 15 of the top single-game winnings records on Jeopardy!) went at it, with Jennings securing a 16,600-point win in the first game.

Though Holzhauer notched a victory in the second game, Jennings won the overall match, because his combined score across the first two games was 200 points higher.

Though the star of the night was Jennings thanks to his win, there were plenty of other notable moments.

In recognition of host Alex Trebek’s fight against pancreatic cancer, all three former champions wore purple awareness ribbons in support of those with the disease during the show.

The tournament will continue on Wednesday night and go on until a player wins three “matches” — aka two games. That could happen as soon as Thursday if Jennings wins twice more, but may not happen until next week.

“I think it really is a tossup between the three players,” Andy Saunders, who runs a website called The “Jeopardy!” Fan that tracks players’ statistics, told The New York Times before the first match aired. “All three of them have strengths and weaknesses. You never know what might happen.”

The overall winner of the tournament will receive $1 million. The two non-winners will each receive $250,000.

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