HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVJeopardy‘Jeopardy!’ Producer Weighs In on String of Recent Super Champions

‘Jeopardy!’ Producer Weighs In on String of Recent Super Champions

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

If you ask “Jeopardy!” executive producer Michael Davies why he thinks so many super champions have emerged this season, he’ll be honest with you.

“I don’t have a simple answer,” Davies told AP News earlier this week.

The “Jeopardy!” community is absolutely buzzing after recent super champion Mattea Roach lost her first game. Roach ended her 23-day win streak on Friday, May 6, and walked away with $560,983. But she’s one of several super champions to compete this season and set new records for the long-running game show.

Matt Amodio kicked off this incredible group with 38 wins back in October. He earned over $1.5 million in earnings and surpassed James Holzhauer’s record for consecutive wins. Immediately after him came Jonathan Fisher with 11 wins and then Amy Schneider, another incredible record-breaker. She would go on to win 40 consecutive games and earn $1.3 million.

And now, Roach joins the ranks of these “Jeopardy!” superstars and heads to the Tournament of Champions this fall. She’ll have to hone her skills and keep them fresh for when she meets Amodio and Schneider on the stage.

As for Davies, he can only chalk up these winners’ success to built-up experience and a ruthless hand on the buzzer.

“The people that win are the people who make the most attempts, the ones who are able to unscramble what it is that they’re asking faster than anybody else,” Davies said.

Some champions also have an advantage because they’ve had more practice with the buzzer than the new contestants. But in Roach’s case, the filming of five straight games in a row per day led to exhaustion that affected her buzzer skills.

“I do think that my last two games, I was maybe just out of it,” Roach said. For her 23rd win, she had to make a huge comeback. “I was really, really tired. I remember yawning uncontrollably before playing my second-to-last game. From what I recall, I believe I was slower on the buzzer, I was not able to come up with responses.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer Michael Davies Talks Broadening Subject Matter

The recent run of “Jeopardy!” super champions could also be due to an approach by executive producer Michael Davies. This season, he’s tried to increase the breadth of subject matter so that contestants don’t face the same clues and categories over and over again. He’d rather rely on general knowledge than random trivia facts.

“We’re trying to test excellence,” Davies explained.“We’re trying to test people on how much they really know. We don’t want it to be for people who know trivia. We want it to be for people who spend a lifetime reading books, acquiring knowledge.”

He added, “We celebrate facts. We celebrate people who know things.”