‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Matt Amodio Says Ken Jennings Record Feels ‘Far Away’: ‘GOAT for a Reason’

by John Jamison
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

On Friday, Yale Ph.D. student Matt Amodio beat James Holzhauer’s “Jeopardy!” streak with his 33rd consecutive win. The all-time performance goes to show how impressive Ken Jennings’ streak was in the early 2000s. Amodio’s not even halfway there.

In 2004, Ken Jennings finally lost after firing off 74 straight wins for a total of $2.5 million. As it stands, Matt Amodio holds the second-longest streak of all time, earning $1.27 million. And he knows better than most just how far away he is from touching Jennings’ record. After all, each game is an entirely new challenge. All it takes is an off day or a series of challenging categories to undo months of progress.

New “Jeopardy!” legend Matt Amodio talked to Newsweek about how 74 straight wins still feel like an insurmountable figure.

“Ken feels as far away now as it did from Game 1. I feel like I’ve been put through the gauntlet over and over and over again… and I’m not even half-way there! Ken is the GOAT for a reason!”

If “Jeopardy!” was the NFL, then Ken Jennings would be Tom Brady. Of course, Jennings has since retired from playing, and he’s hosted the show now, so he couldn’t play again if he tried. But the point is no one can touch what he’s accomplished.

Matt Amodio treats Jennings with that level of respect. And Holzhauer, for that matter.

“I have had Ken and James tweet out to me, which makes me feel so honored. They are legends, and them deigning to say something about me is a huge compliment,” Amodio continued.

‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mayim Bialik Talked About the Hosting Drama Recently

Matt Amodio’s run is made even more impressive by the fact that he’s done it despite a rotation of “Jeopardy!” hosts. And it’s not as if the rotation fit the standard guest host schedule that the show published weeks in advance. He has continued his dominance in the face of drama caused by a host/producer’s ousting from the show.

Mayim Bialik, who is currently filling the host role, thinks that the drama surrounding the position is a bit unwarranted. The game is about contestants like Matt Amodio, after all. She talked to James Corden about it in a recent appearance on “The Late Late Show.”

“I was the headline on CNN three days in a row. Who knew people were so passionate about who hosts ‘Jeopardy!’?” said Bialik.

“I mean, I’m just trying to read the clues. You know, just let me read the clues. The thing about ‘Jeopardy!,’ we spend our whole lives wanting to be seen…and this job is just like – people should think the least about me as possible. Meaning, it’s my job to be the host and to just read the clues.”