‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Matt Amodio Speaks on Mayim Bialik Starting First Week as Host

by Josh Lanier
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Matt Amodio said he’s ready to start Monday’s episode of Jeopardy! with a bang. Mayim Bialik, of Big Bang Theory fame, will take over as host of the beloved game show this week as Amodio hopes to extend his winning streak to 24-games.

So far, the 30-year-old Yale Ph.D. candidate is on a historic run. His 23-game-win streak is the third-longest in Jeopardy! history and his $825,801 total earnings is also the third-best all-time. He’s behind Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer in both categories, according to the show’s Hall of Fame.

But what makes Amodio’s run all the more impressive is that Bialik will be his sixth host during his time on the show. He competed for broadcaster Robin Roberts, actor LeVar Burton, journalist David Faber, sportscaster Joe Buck, and Jeopardy! permanent host for a week Mike Richards.

Both Jennings and Holzhauer got to play under the steady hand of Alex Trebek. Matt Amodio has had a new host every week. Though, Amodio said he doesn’t care who’s at the podium when he competes.

“Frankly, the last thing I’m thinking about when I’m in the middle of a game is who’s hosting,” he told The Washington Post.

But the chaotic times at Jeopardy! should be coming to an end. Mayim Bialik will be the only host until November. She’ll split hosting duties with Ken Jennings after that through the end of the year.

If Amodio can survive until November, he will have the second-longest win streak in the show’s history. Holzhauer won 32 games. But he will have the chance — slim though it may be — to break Jennings’ 74 game win streak with Ken Jennings as the host.

Amodio isn’t thinking that far ahead. He’s just happy Jennings knows his name.

Matt Amodio ‘Feeds’ Off of ‘Jeopardy!’ Fans’ Taunts

So, if you’re not familiar with the “What is” controversy, settle in because this is going to get nerdy. When answering questions, Amodio always starts his answers with “What is.” Regardless if it is about a person, as in “What is Shaquille O’Neal?” Rather than the grammatically correct “Who is Tom Brokaw?” Some fans say it’s disrespectful to the game, but Jeopardy! made an official ruling on this. And it’s as pedantic as you’d expect.

The show rules only say that contestants must state their answer in the form of a question. But it doesn’t specify if it needs to be grammatically correct to count. So, Amodio’s “What is” is fine. Jeopardy! fans often tweet him the phrase “What’s Matt” as an in-joke, but he doesn’t care. He joked the tears of his haters fuel him.

“I get a lot of ‘What’s Matt’ and I think they’re trying to be mean, but I’ve just kind of taken it on my own so it feeds me. I like it,” he said in a Q&A with producers.

Overall, he said, Jeopardy! fans are incredibly kind to him online. Something he didn’t think was possible.

“People have been very nice,” he said in the Q&A. “I didn’t know the internet could also be nice. People have been very nice, and so I’ve appreciated that.”

Outsider.com