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‘Jeopardy!’ Sensation James Holzhauer Loses After 33 Games, Just Shy of Ken Jennings’ Record

Holzhauer's ratings-smashing "Jeopardy" run has come to an end after his 33rd game.



Jeopardy Productions

Jeopardy!” sensation James Holzhauer ended his run on the popular game show Monday, June 3, after a 33-game run that saw him getting close to beating the all-time “Jeopardy” record set by Ken Jennings in 2004. The episode has already started airing in select markets across the country, including in Alabama.

Holzhauer lost by $22,002 to a librarian from Chicago named Emma Boettcher. Holzhauer bowed out of the game just $58,484 shy of Jennings’ $2.52 million record. What’s most impressive is Holzhauer achieved this feat in 33 games, compared to Jennings’ record which was reached over 74 games (still the longest run on the show’s history).

“Nobody likes to lose,” Holzhauer said in an interview with The New York Times. “But I’m very proud of how I did, and I really exceeded my own expectations for the show. So I don’t feel bad about it.”

Despite not beating Jennings’ all-time record, Holzhauer still holds the record for the most money won during a single “Jeopardy!” episode. During 11 of the 33 games he played, Holzhauer went the entire game without an incorrect answer. The contestant became a viral sensation with his dry banter and risky strategy, which often found him jumping around the board to find Daily Doubles and wagering big to double his score. Boettcher told The Times in order to beat Holzhauer she had to learn his strategy and beat him at his own game.

“I knew going in that Daily Double hunting was something that I could do and feel confident doing,” she said. “I don’t need to be cautious around that.”

Holzhauer added, “I lost to a really top-level competitor. She played a perfect game. And that was what it took to beat me.”

“Jeopardy” ratings soared over the last month thanks to Holzhauer’s run. The show averaged 9.6 million same-day viewers when Holzhauer made his debut during the first week of April. By the week of April 22-26, the same-day viewership was up to 12 million. When Holzhauer’s run went on hiatus for the “Jeopardy!” Teacher’s Tournament, ratings slipped 27%, which means the end of Holzhauer’s time on the show is a blow for producers. The show’s ratings for Holzhauer represented a 14-year high in viewership for “Jeopardy.”

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