fair.png
Saturday May 21st, 2022 7:37AM

'Jeopardy' savors run of super champions after host stumbles

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — As Mattea Roach, Amy Schneider and Matt Amodio can attest, it's cool to be smart again.

“Jeopardy!” is on an unusual run of super champs. In the past seven months, each of those contestants has landed in the television game show's historical list of top five winning streaks. Roach's run of victories ended on her 24th game Friday.

The timing couldn't be better for “Jeopardy!” — and the show's fans know all about timing.

The show had been reeling last summer after it bungled the process of replacing late host Alex Trebek. Mike Richards was fired as both host and executive producer of the show after insensitive statements he had made on a podcast surfaced.

“It has really let people fall in love with ‘Jeopardy!’ again and forget about what happened to focus on all of these amazing contestants,” said Andy Saunders, who runs thejeopardyfan.com website.

Amodio, a doctoral candidate at Yale University, ran off 38 straight wins before he was beaten last October. He soon gave way to Schneider, the engineering manager from Oakland who was a fixture on TV over the holidays before her streak ended at 40. Roach, a 23-year-old tutor from Toronto, was the show's youngest major champion.

They joined Ken Jennings, whose 74-game streak in 2004 has never seriously been challenged and high-stakes gambler James Holzhauer, who won 32 in 2019, in the “Jeopardy!” top five.

The show, which has aired regularly since 1984, changed its rules in 2003 to allow people to stay on until they lose. Prior to that, winners were capped at five games.

Ask Michael Davies, the show's executive producer, why the sudden run of big winners, and you get a verbal shrug.

“I don't have a simple answer,” he said.

The “price” for such long runs can be a string of dull games because the players are so dominant. Yet the winning streaks create strong characters in ways that are unusual for game shows. People tune in to root for or against them like they do for sports teams, said Saunders, who has worked in game show production.

That's reflected in the ratings. The “Jeopardy!" audience is up 400,000 this year in an era most shows are shrinking, Davies said. The game averaged 9.4 million viewers a night during the third week in April, more than any program that week on prime-time television, the Nielsen company said.

“The people that win are the people who make the most attempts, the ones who are able to unscramble what it is that they’re asking faster than anybody else,” Davies said.

Schneider and Roach were notable for their impressive breadth of knowledge, and they were rarely wrong. Amodio was particularly adept at harder questions with a big monetary value and he sought them out first, pinning hopes on a “shock and awe” strategy that demoralized opponents.

Since he's been producer, Davies said “Jeopardy!” has been trying broaden out the subject matter that contestants face.

“We're trying to test excellence,” said Davies, who was producer of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” during Regis Philbin's heyday. “We're trying to test people on how much they really know. We don't want it to be for people who know trivia. We want it to be for people who spend a lifetime reading books, acquiring knowledge.

“We celebrate facts,” he said. “We celebrate people who know things.”

Not all television viewers know this, but “Jeopardy!” usually tapes a week's worth of episodes in a single day. That can help a champion who gets on a roll.

But after they lost, both Schneider and Roach pointed to fatigue as a factor.

“I do think that my last two games, I was maybe just out of it,” said Roach, who had to come from behind for her last win. “I was really, really tired. I remember yawning uncontrollably before playing my second-to-last game. From what I recall, I believe I was slower on the buzzer, I was not able to come up with responses.”

She'll be back for the yearly Tournament of Champions, competing with Amodio and Schneider. Davies, a sports fan, wants to put more emphasis on the event that brings together each year's best contestants, and to make sure it is held each year at the same time, in the fall.

“I think it's pretty clear that this has been good for the franchise,” he said.

___

Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Russian ambassador to Poland hit with red paint
Protesters have thrown red paint on the Russian ambassador to Poland as he arrived at a cemetery in Warsaw to pay respects to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II
11:30AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Live updates | EU chief seeks unanimity on oil ban proposal
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is traveling to Hungary in a bid to secure unanimity on the EU’s executive arm’s proposal to ban oil imports from Russia
11:22AM ( 13 minutes ago )
No end in sight for Ukraine war as Putin hails Victory Day
Russian President Vladimir Putin used a major patriotic holiday to again justify his war in Ukraine but did not declare even a limited victory or signal where the conflict was headed
11:17AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Pulitzer Prizes for 2021 journalism, arts to be announced
The Pulitzer Prizes are set Monday to honor the best journalism from a tumultuous year that saw an insurrection, the frantic end of the United States’ longest war and fallout from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and catastrophic climate change
10:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
Hip to be smart: 'Jeopardy' savors run of super champions
It's cool to be smart again: the game show “Jeopardy!”
10:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Batali opts for non-jury trial in sexual misconduct case
Celebrity chef Mario Batali is opting to have a judge decide his fate in his sexual misconduct trial in Boston
9:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
Column: Spring football league's time has come ... and gone
This was once an idea that had so much promise
5:22PM ( 2 days ago )
Turner Sports prepared for their first Stanley Cup Playoffs
Turner Sports and ESPN are carrying the NHL playoffs after they aired for 16 years on NBC and NBCSN
4:08PM ( 4 days ago )
Bond denied for former 'American Idol' star charged in crash
A South Carolina judge has denied bond for a former “American Idol” contestant accused of barreling into a man with his pickup truck and killing him
3:40PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Online TV News
Russian ambassador to Poland hit with red paint
Protesters have thrown red paint on the Russian ambassador to Poland as he arrived at a cemetery in Warsaw to pay respects to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II
11:30AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Live updates | EU chief seeks unanimity on oil ban proposal
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is traveling to Hungary in a bid to secure unanimity on the EU’s executive arm’s proposal to ban oil imports from Russia
11:22AM ( 13 minutes ago )
No end in sight for Ukraine war as Putin hails Victory Day
Russian President Vladimir Putin used a major patriotic holiday to again justify his war in Ukraine but did not declare even a limited victory or signal where the conflict was headed
11:17AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Islanders fire coach Barry Trotz after missing playoffs
The New York Islanders have fired coach Barry Trotz after missing the playoffs in his fourth season with the team
11:12AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Dictator's son far ahead in Philippine presidential vote
The son and namesake of ousted Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos has taken a commanding lead in an unofficial count in the presidential election in the deeply divided Asian democracy
11:11AM ( 24 minutes ago )