In the last week of December, Jeopardy! was the highest-rated program on all of broadcast and cable TV. It even beat out Yellowstone, 60 Minutes, and all the New Year’s Eve specials.
The popular game show averaged nearly 9.7 million viewers per episode that week, and it has averaged 9.2 million total viewers throughout the 2021-22 season, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Those heightened viewership numbers are probably thanks to contestant Amy Schneider, who is on a historic winning streak. She’s tied James Holzhauer for the third-longest winning streak of all time and she’s become the fourth contestant to win more than $1 million.
It’s not surprising that fans tune in for a chance to watch new records being set. In 2019, Holzhauer’s streak yielded Jeopardy! 14-year-high ratings; Holzhauer’s final win drew 14.5 million viewers.
Jeopardy! Ratings Are Still Below Alex Trebek’s Final Episode
Understandably, ratings have still not quite risen to the level they reached for late, great host Alex Trebek’s final episode, which became the most-watched episode since Holzhauer’s winning streak. And they’re still below last season’s numbers when a rotating cast of celebrities filled in as host, and fans weighed in on who was best suited to take up Trebek’s mantle.
Trebek died on Nov. 8, 2020 of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He had mostly been continuing to tape episodes through his diagnosis and treatment, and his death came as a blow to Jeopardy! fans around the world. He is survived by his wife Jean and three children: Nicky, Matthew and Emily.
Currently dividing up hosting duties between them are former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings and actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik.
Schneider Remembers Watching Alex Trebek as a Youngster
Fittingly for a Jeopardy! champion, Schneider partly credits her time watching Jeopardy! during Trebek’s reign for her current winning streak. Her Instagram handle, @jeopardamy, hints at how significant a role Jeopardy! has played in her life, and so for Schneider, Trebek’s legacy looms large.
“I can’t remember a time when I was not watching Jeopardy!” Schneider told Vogue this week. “I think it started when Alex Trebek began on the show. Which is when I was five or six. [My streak] is hard to process. I never imagined I would make it this far. I thought I had a chance to win some games, but I never thought I would be at this level.”
But now she is, and fans have a whole new reason to tune in. It’s the most exciting thing to happen on Jeopardy! in a while. And only time will tell how long Schneider’s winning streak lasts.