It’s over: James Holzhauer’s “Jeopardy” winning streak ends

Impressive streak ends at 32 games, falls short of Ken Jennings’ winnings record

(An earlier draft of this story appeared on T Dog Media’s Facebook page Monday afternoon.)

James Holzhauer’s Jeopardy winning streak abruptly ended Monday ending at 32 games after he was beaten by a Chicago contestant, no less.

The former Naperville resident-turned-Las Vegas gambler entered the day only $60,000 or so away from beating Ken Jennings’ winnings record set in 2005. In Monday’s show, he faced off against research engineer Jay Sexton and Emma Boettcher, a Chicagoan who is a University of Chicago librarian.

The game was tight going into Double Jeopardy, but Boettcher took the lead over Holzhauer when she answered a Daily Double correctly, and he trailed going into Final Jeopardy. In fact, Boettcher nailed both Daily Doubles correctly.

Holzhauer answered correctly in the final round, but bet only $1399 – not enough to overtake Boettcher, who also correctly answered the Shakespeare question.

And thus, Holzhauer’s streak ends at 32, winning a total of $2,462,216 – and that includes the $2,000 consolation “prize” he won.

Holzhauer’s streak provided a huge ratings boost for the veteran game show produced by Sony and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. During his streak, Jeopardy topped all syndicated shows scoring ratings the show hasn’t seen in years. It is important to note however, Jeopardy has always been in the top ten-rated syndicated programs, dating back to before Holzhauer and Jennings even thought of trying out for the show.

Last Thursday in Philadelphia, a James Holzhauer-fueled episode of Jeopardy even outdrew game one of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. Both aired on ABC-owned WPVI.

As alluded to by yours truly on Twitter – in a tease without giving anything away (even I didn’t know the final results until tuning in to Jeopardy Monday afternoon), Montgomery, Ala. viewers were the first to see Holzhauer’s defeat since local CBS affiliate WAKA-TV airs Jeopardy at 9:30 a.m. – an odd slot for the show given the show airs mostly in early fringe (late afternoon) and prime access (6-8 p.m.) slots in most markets. In Chicago, Jeopardy airs at 3:30 p.m. over ABC-owned WLS-TV.

Perhaps the last viewers to find out James Holzhauer’s fate is in San Diego, where Jeopardy wasn’t scheduled to air until 9:30 p.m. Monday night on NBC-owned KNSD-TV. That’s because NBC is airing game four of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues at 5 p.m. local time, bumping Jeopardy from its regular 7:30 p.m. time slot.

This isn’t the last we’ll see of James Holzhauer: he is expected to participate in Jeopardy’s “Tournament Of Champions” sometime next season – and this is already awesome news for Sony, CBS, and local stations who carry the show.

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