‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Amy Schneider Talks Preparing for Fame

by Suzanne Halliburton

Jeopardy! fame is finding Amy Schneider as she picked up her 39th straight win.

Earlier in the day, Schneider appeared on Good Morning America to talk about her winning streak and what it means to her. Coincidentally, GMA’s George Stephanopoulos, who guest hosted Jeopardy! last summer, was peppering Schneider with questions.

So, has she adjusted to all this newfound fame, Stephanopoulos asked.

“No, not really,” Schneider said. “There was a bit of a gap between the taping and airing, so I did have time to get used to the idea. But I didn’t really know what it would be or how famous … Jeopardy is … . It’s been a lot. It’s mostly been really fun.

“I’ve been enjoying it,” she said, “let me be clear (about that).”

Later Monday, Jeopardy! fans got to see the Schneider taping of victory No. 39 on the syndicated quiz show. That gave her second-place, all-time, on Jeopardy! for consecutive wins. Her earnings now top $1.3 million.

“It still feels unreal,” Schneider said in a statement to the media. “Knowing that I had this chance, I was definitely thinking about it. Then Ken (Jennings) said it, and I thought, ‘Alright, I just accomplished this huge thing’ and it was pretty great.”

But if she wants to go for No. 1, she needs to buckle up for a long run. Ken Jennings, who currently is hosting the show, owns the record for most wins in a row with 74 straight. So Schneider almost needs to double her win total to become the best. Can she do it? That’ll be the question a ton of viewers have as they tune in each day to see whether the 42-year-old engineer from Oakland, Calif., keeps winning.

As most Jeopardy! contestants acknowledge it’s all about mastering the buzzer. Stephanopoulos asked her about how she honed her technique.

“I did research other contestants,” the Jeopardy! super champ said. “I practiced at home with a ballpoint pen.”

But she said once she grew comfortable with being alongside other contestants, she adjusted her technique so that it was all about “instinct and feel.”

Coincidentally, her long-time friends always knew she would be a successful Jeopardy! champ. After all, her eighth-grade class voted her most likely to be on the game show.

“I did expect to be on Jeopardy! and do all right,” Schneider said on GMA. “I didn’t expect to do this well.”

Even before she won Monday, Schneider already was the most successful female contestant on Jeopardy! She’s also the most successful transgender contestant in the show’s run. She talked about representing the trans community during her GMA interview.

“I think that the best part for me has been being on TV, you know, as my true self, expressing myself and representing the entire community of trans people,” she told “Good Morning America.” “Just being, you know, a smart, confident woman and doing something super normal like being on Jeopardy!