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Why has Jeopardy! had so many winning streaks this season?

  • Matt Amodio kicked off Season 38 with a winning streak, followed by Jonathan Fisher, who went on to win 11 games of his own. Currently, Amy Schneider is in the midst of a 26-game win streak. "It is unprecedented, to put it mildly," says Jeopardy! expert Claire McNear. "Three of this season’s players (Amodio, Fisher, and now Schneider) have joined the vaunted—and, at least until this season, ultra-exclusive—ranks of the “super-champs,” with double-digit victories; just nine other players have managed to reach that mark in the 19 seasons since the show lifted its five-day cap. Amodio’s 38 wins put him between (Ken) Jennings and James Holzhauer (32) on the all-time list; Schneider could match Holzhauer if her streak continues through next Thursday’s game. Fisher, meanwhile, tied the streak length of Arthur Chu. To Jeopardy! diehards, names like Jennings, Holzhauer, and Chu carry something like mythical status. To have so many new entries to the pantheon in such a short period of time is positively dizzying. It’s also, well, weird, especially given what happened in 2020 and the first half of 2021. Season 37 was notable for how few long streaks there were: At one point, the show went 88 straight episodes—four and a half months—without a player hitting that crucial four-win mark. The reason for last season’s drought has mostly been laid at the feet of the show’s guest-host rotation: While contestants differ about the significance of host cadence and how much the changing voices and tempos might throw off a defending champion, there’s no denying that the onslaught of newbie hosts led to significantly longer tape days than existed during the Alex Trebek era, with all the delays and retaped pickups having the potential to disrupt. Explaining this season’s radical inverse of the trend is trickier. The most obvious factor is that Jeopardy! has seen an explosion of applicants during the past two years, meaning that there are many more buzzer hopefuls—and big, beautiful brains—from which to choose."

    TOPICS: Amy Schneider, Jeopardy!, Jonathan Fisher, Matt Amodio, Game Shows