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Ken Jennings wins the 'Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time' tournament

Rob Tornoe, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

Light on celebrities: Other than Abdul-Jabbar, the only other celebrity to appear Tuesday was the actor Ryan Reynolds. The Deadpool star read all the answers in the Greatest Comedians category.

In addition to taking home the title of Greatest of All Time, Jennings will pocket $1 million, increasing his career earnings on the show to $4.4 million. Holzhauer and Rutter will each earn $250,000. Rutter remains Jeopardy!'s all-time highest-earning winner, with a total of $4.95 million dating back to his initial appearance in 2000.

The tournament garnered monster ratings for ABC, averaging more than 16 million viewers a night across its first three nights last week, according to Nielsen ratings. That's more viewers than all of ESPN's 2019 Monday Night Football telecasts, and ranks second among entertainment programs so far this season, behind NBC's Golden Globes broadcast (18.32 million).

During the tournament's first game, Jennings barely edged out Holzhauer, beating him by just 200 points. Holzhauer managed to win the second night, but Jennings' victory during the tournament's third night was such a blowout that neither Holzhauer nor Rutter even bothered to offer an answer during Final Jeopardy.

Harry Friedman, longtime producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, told Slate the goal of the tournament was to make the questions difficult for the contestants, but not so obscure that they alienated the audience. He also offered an update on Trebek's health as the longtime host, who is 79, continues to cope with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.


"His course of treatment keeps changing. He is now on a trial drug that just got approved," Friedman said. "There have been days when he comes in to work and he doesn't feel well. But by the time we get to taping a few hours later, there's somehow a resurgence in strength and energy. It's a marvel to behold. He is able to put everything else aside when the moment comes, host the show, and do it well. He has not called in sick once."

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