‘Jeopardy!’: Is the Game Show Getting Easier?

by Megan Molseed

It’s an exciting thing, following a Jeopardy! player, as they find massive success with a major winning streak on the popular TV game show. However, some fans who are following some of the most recent runs are beginning to wonder, is the popular answer-question quiz show getting easier as time goes by?

About two decades ago, the long-running daytime game show removed a long-standing rule giving contestants a five-game limit on behind a Jeopardy! podium. So, it stands to reason that without this limit in play, the popular TV game show would then begin to see some impressive winning streaks here and there. Something that happened fairly quickly when Ken Jennings made Jeopardy! history shortly after the rule was lifted; winning a record-breaking 74 games in a row.

Jennings’ streak was then followed by James Holzhauer who was catching up to the Jeopardy! GOAT with his own streak. Holzhauer lost his momentum, however, finishing his streak with 32 wins. Since then, there have certainly been a few other players making it onto the Jeopardy! champion board. However, this season seems to be bringing in an unusual number of streak winners…and there are no signs of this slowing down, either.

Why Are We Seeing A Run Of Winning Streaks On The Hit Daytime Game Show?

One Jeopardy! champion, Amy Schneider has a theory about the recent run of multi-game winners we are seeing during this most recent season. Schneider began to wonder about this phenomenon after her own champion run on the game show.

“People kept asking me about it during my run because of Matt,” Amy Schneider says, referring to fellow Jeopardy! champion Matt Amodio who had a 38-game winning streak just weeks before Schneider’s.

“At the time, my feeling was it’s not really anything,” Schneider relates. “It’s just a statistical fluke.”

However, the Jeopardy! winner says, she began to wonder about this as time went on; and players continued to find themselves on championship streaks.

“But since then, it’s kept happening,” she explains. “And so that’s starting to feel like a less satisfying explanation to me.”

So, what is it Amy Scheider thinks is going on, leading to so many impressive Jeopardy! wins? Well, Schneider says, the answer could lie in restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Namely the fact that contestants are no longer playing in front of a studio audience.

Sure, some contestants might feed off of the audience energy, Schneider notes. However, the Jeopardy! champ notes that the lack of a studio audience certainly lessened the pressures.

“When I try to think of things that might have made it easier for me, it’s definitely possible,” Schneider explains. So far this season, Jeopardy! has seen nine contestants exceeding the five-game mark and becoming “super champions.” However, the 2014-2015 season of Jeopardy! still holds the record for the most “super champion” winners. That season saw 10 contestants making it to the multi-game winner’s circle.