Meeting of the Minds: Three Highest Money Winners in ‘Jeopardy!’ History Competing in Prime Time

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From left: James Holzhauer, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. (Jeopardy Productions Inc.)

On the heels of the iconic Tournament of Champions, “Jeopardy!” comes to ABC in a multiple consecutive night event with “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time,” which premiered Jan. 7.

Hosted by Alex Trebek, the show is produced by Sony Pictures Television with Harry Friedman as executive producer.

This epic television event brings together the three highest money winners in the long-running game show’s history: Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer. The fan favorites compete in a series of matches; the first to win three receives $1 million and the title of “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.” The two runners-up will each receive $250,000.

“Based on their previous performances, these three are already the ‘greatest,’ but you can’t help wondering: who is the best of the best?” Trebek said.

“I am always so blown away by the incredibly talented and legendary Alex Trebek, who has entertained, rallied and championed the masses for generations — and the world-class ‘Jeopardy!’ team, who truly are ‘the greatest of all time,’” said Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment.

“This timeless and extraordinary format is the gift that keeps on giving and winning the hearts of America every week. We can’t wait to deliver this epic and fiercely competitive showdown — with these unprecedented contestants — to ABC viewers and loyal fans everywhere.”

“We’re excited to bring ‘Jeopardy!’ to prime time! It’s been a long time in the making – we wanted to create a unique experience sure to wow not just our fans, but all audiences,” said Mike Hopkins, chairman of Sony Pictures Television. “We are thrilled to have James, Brad and Ken, three powerhouse players each worthy of the title ‘The Greatest of All Time.’ With Alex hosting, this is truly going to be something special. I can’t wait to see who comes out on top!”

The tournament could conclude as early as Jan. 9, but if necessary it can continue until Jan. 16.

Ken Jennings became a household name during his record 74-game winning streak, the longest in “Jeopardy!” history. His winnings before this week total $3,370,700.

Brad Rutter is the highest money winner of all time across any television game show, with total “Jeopardy!” winnings of $4,688,436. He has never lost “Jeopardy!” to a human opponent.

James Holzhauer holds the record for all 15 of the top single-day winnings records on “Jeopardy!” and won the 2019 Tournament of Champions. His winnings total $2,712,216.

A scene from the first match.

UPDATE: Following are the results for Tuesday’s episode (contains spoilers).

Game 1: Jennings, $45,000; Holzhauer, $33,200; Rutter, $10,400

Final Jeopardy question (category: Presidents and the Bible): “Silent” Calvin Coolidge was inaugurated in 1925 on a Bible open to this six-word first line of the Gospel according to John.

Answer: “In the beginning was the word.” (All three got it.)

Game 2: Holzhauer, $30,000; Jennings, $18,400; Rutter, 0

Final Jeopardy question (category: Astronomers): This man’s name was given to a comet that crashed into Jupiter in 1994; he’s the only human whose remains lie on the moon.

Answer: Eugene Shoemaker. (Holzhauer and Jennings got it.)

Total: Jennings, $63,400; Holzhauer, 63,200; Rutter, $10,400

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