‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Matt Amodio Says His First Memories of the Show Are of Ken Jennings’ Win-Streak

by Anna Dunn

Jeopardy! champ Matt Amodio’s first memories of the show are of Ken Jennings sweeping up wins. In an article for Newsweek, Amodio wrote about his experience with Jeopardy!, how it feels to be a champ, and why he wants to beat Ken Jennings’ winnings record.

Jennings is such an important player to Matt because Matt’s first memories of the show are of Jennings dominating the game. Now, Amodio wants to come for his title.

“The first solid memories I have of Jeopardy! are of Ken Jennings’ run. I was rooting for him like a sports fan, I knew his stats and how he compared to the record books. I remember it so well. But you never really picture how it must look in person,” Amodio wrote.

Amodio is Dominating ‘Jeopardy!’ at an Odd Time

When Ken Jennings was sweeping up wins, he did so with one host, Alex Trebek. But Jeopardy! has had a rotating schedule since Alex Trebek passed away. This means Amodio has played the game with six different hosts. While some would maybe consider this a disadvantage, Amodio paid very little mind to the rotation.

“I don’t think it was disruptive having six different hosts. I’m not really focused on the host when I’m playing. I’m just staring at the question, trying to remember, so it didn’t really impact me at all. There are also 20 people on set working for Jeopardy!, all doing their jobs and making you feel comfortable, the fact that one of them is changing isn’t so huge,” he wrote.

Amodio was one of the few contestants that played under the hosting of the now-ousted appointed host Mike Richards. Richards, who was an executive producer on the show, got the job seemingly out of nowhere after the show spent months rotating guest hosts who wanted the gig. Once it was revealed that Richards had a controversial past, he was ousted from the position after only a week.

The Jeopardy! champ noted that while there was clearly a lot going on, the staff did their best to make all their guests that week feel normal.

Now, Amodio has the second-longest winning streak in Jeopardy! history. He’s still trying to wrap his head around it but has his sights set on beating Ken Jennings who got him into the show in the first place.

Amodio is currently a PhD student at Yale University. He’s earned a pretty penny on the show and has won the third most amount of money behind James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings. But he doesn’t consider himself much of a big spender. Right now, he’s planing on investing most of the money and fixing the air conditioning in his car.

Despite the hosting drama, it’s competitors like Matt that show that the game itself is solid.