Editor’s note: This story contains spoilers for “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.”
The nation wondered, would Ken Jennings beat audacious professional gambler James Holzhauer? Or would Brad Rutter’s bad luck streak from last week somehow change, bringing him to the front?
These were the questions fans of the game show “Jeopardy!” had all night as the show’s three greatest contestants faced off to determine who would be named the “Greatest of All Time.”
Coming into Tuesday night’s broadcast, Jennings needed to win just one more match to take home the trophy. After the first game on Tuesday, Jennings found himself firmly in the driver’s seat with a big lead.
It seemed the only hope Holzhauer had of holding off Jennings would be a massive win in the night’s second game.
When Final Jeopardy! got underway, it looked like Holzhauer had a shot at winning Tuesday’s match because Jennings wagered nothing in the round.
Holzhauer wagered it all, but got the question wrong… giving Ken Jennings the win and the title of “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time.” Besides bragging rights, the Seattle-based software engineer turned author won the grand prize of $1 million.
As the runners-up, Rutter and Holzhauer each won $250,000.
Jennings became a household name during his record 74-game winning streak, which was the longest in the game show’s history lasting for five months in 2004. Tuesday night’s victory brought his winnings total to $4.37 million.
All three contestants were selected for their standout performances on the show.
Rutter holds the title for the most money won by a contestant across any television game show, raking in $4.68 million in “Jeopardy!” prize money. He has never lost “Jeopardy!” to a human opponent.
Holzhauer is the record holder for all 15 of the top single-game winnings records on the show. He won the 2019 Tournament of Champions and his winnings total $2.71 million.
And while Holzhauer lost the title to Jennings, he did win the night when it comes to mocking the other contestants.
The “Greatest of All Time” tournament has proven to be a big hit for ABC in prime-time. The Nielsen company said each of the first three matches were seen by about 15 million people, with the audience growing each night.
While it has been gratifying for ABC executives, they can’t honestly say it’s a surprise. They’re now considering future “Jeopardy!” special events, but don’t want to dilute the success by making them less special.
The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.