Jeopardy! What is winning?

Emily Kottak, News Editor

Jeopardy! has been a popular game show since it first debuted in 1964 on NBC. Since its initial airing, the game show has featured many intelligent contestants who have earned large sums of money, all because of their immense brain power.

For now, the highest earning Jeopardy! contestant remains Brad Rutter who earned approximately $4.3 million on the show. However, a new contender has entered the scene, and he is not backing down.

James Holzhauer is 35 years old and is a Professional Sports Gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada. He currently has a 25 consecutive day winning streak on Jeopardy!, and is at a total of $1,939,027. Holzhauer is the latest contestant to pass the $1 million winning mark, and he also currently holds the top five records in single-day winnings.

Because of the excitement Holzhauer brings to the game show, ratings have risen. Holzhauer never hesitates to risk it all, especially when he gets a Daily Double.

“If you don’t take a risk like that, you’re not going to win,” Holzhauer said.  

Holzhauer has already donated tens of thousands of dollars of his earnings to charities like the Las Vegas-Clark County Library, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, and the Ronald McDonald House in Las Vegas.

In addition to donating to charities and organizations, Holzhauer told sources he would also use some of the prize money on travel and treating his family to tennis.

“I’d like to finally take my old man and his missus to the US Open this summer,” Holzhauer told CNBC. “Their ticket requests get closer to center court with every episode I win.”

While contestant James has brought tremendous hype to the game show, another event involving the show’s host has also gathered the attention of many.

Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy! since 1984, announced his stage four pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March via the show’s official Youtube account. However, even while going through chemotherapy, Trebek never missed a day of work.

“It wouldn’t be right for me to walk away from this if I can possibly do it and I managed to do it,” Trebek said. “So what’s the big deal?”

After having constant stomach pain earlier in the year, Trebek underwent testing which found a large bulge in his stomach. Though he has suffered through excruciating pain both on and off the show, many viewers are impressed by Trebek’s youthful appearance which he credits to having “good genes.”

“I have surges of deep, deep sadness, but I’m optimistic about the future,” Trebek said.

Holzhauer and Trebek are similar in that they both are not backing down and are prepared to fight until the end. Both individuals have cast a new light on Jeopardy! and attracted many viewers, old and new.

Stay tuned to see if Holzhauer will continue to dominate the game show and if he will surpass Rutter’s standing record, as well as Trebek’s inspiring journey to healing. All will be revealed on Jeopardy!.