Move aside, Ken Jennings! James Holzhauer is the new king of Jeopardy! Well, maybe not in terms of winning, but certainly in popularity! Holzhauer is one of the show’s biggest winners, appearing in 32 straight episodes and earning over $2 million. However, his most significant win came in a gift to Alex Trebek, the show’s host…
A Jeopardy! Double Win
Over the years, the world’s most famous quiz show, Jeopardy!, has featured some great contestants: Brad Rutter, Brad Jennings, IBM’s computer, Watson, and many more. However, if you haven’t heard the name James Holzhauer, you’ve been missing out! Holzhauer now holds one of the best records on the show, lasting for 32 episodes straight between April 4 and June 3, 2019. Over his run, he won $2,464,216, making him the third most successful Jeopardy! contestant, behind Rutter and Jennings, respectively. But his accomplishments don’t stop there! Holzhauer also earned win records on other game shows, like The Chase and 500 Stories, and plans to enter the World Series of Poker later this year. Still, Holzhauer’s incredible win isn’t the most fantastic part of his story…
You see, back in March, legendary host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek, told the press he’s battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Thankfully, two months later, Trebek happily shared that his cancer had entered remission. Unfortunately, there is always a chance for relapse. So, Holzhauer, who got to know the host very well over his time on the show, decided to donate $1,109.14 to a cancer charity, “for Alex Trebek and all the other survivors.”
Holzhauer made the donation to the Naperville Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk, a money-raising event in his hometown of Naperville, Illinois. The amount of $1,109.14 might seem a little strange at first; but, rest assured, there is a meaning behind it. The donation references Holzhauer’s daughter’s, Natasha, birthday – November 9, 2014. As it turns out, Natasha made Trebek a “get well soon” card, which he mentioned and said thank you for during Holzhauer’s last episode.
Still, the new winner didn’t stop there. With such massive earnings, Holzhauer donated to quite a few other charities also. He gave to a charity called Project 150, near Las Vegas, where he lives, that supports homeless youth. He also donated to the Vegas-Clark Country library, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, and others.
Jeopardy! Bypassed Game of Thrones In Views
While his win might seem impressive, Holzhauer also helped Jeopardy! achieve the highest ratings the show’s enjoyed in 14 years! The previous most-watched episode aired in November 2004, the one in which Ken Jennings lost, with 18 million people watching. Meanwhile, 14 million tuned into Holzhauer’s final episode – more than the Game of Thrones finale! Not only that, but the all-star managed to push Jeopardy! into the three most-watched television episodes of this season. In first place, with 18.5 million viewers, sits the finale of The Big Bang Theory, 60 Minutes’ premiere follows with 14.6 million viewers, then comes Holzhauer’s final Jeopardy! episode with 14 million.
Contestant Emma Boettcher beat Holzhauer on June 3, his 33rd episode. Fans will certainly never forget Holzhauer’s appearance on the show, now as his tribute to Trebek.