’Jeopardy!’: Here’s When ‘Super Champs’ Are Most Likely to Lose

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

Over the last two decades Jeopardy! has seen a run of record-breaking “super champs.”

And, with these record-breaking wins comes a lot of interest including what factors are at play when one of these super champs finally breaks their winning streak.

Recently, some hardcore Jeopardy! fans have made a project out of trying to determine when, exactly, a Jeopardy! super champion is most likely to lose.

A quick study on this, note the fans, says the champions appear to be most vulnerable early in the week.

At one point in Jeopardy!’s many years on air, the iconic games show held returning champions to a five-day limit.

However, the iconic game show lifted this restriction in 2003. It wasn’t long after these restrictions were lifted that the iconic game show found its first record-breaker as the Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings won a consecutive 74 games.

‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Make Some Interesting Observations

Since the five-day winning streak restriction was lifted, Jennings is one of only eleven players to win ten or more game shows in a row. Two of these champions, Matt Amodio and Jonathan Fisher made their runs just last month.

According to The Ringer, there were some hardcore Jeopardy! fans who were wondering if there was a formula to when a super-champ may be more likely to lose their winning streak.

To do this, these Jeopardy! sleuths took a look at which days of the week the nine previous Jeopardy! super champs ended their runs.

Three of these contestants lost on a Monday or a Wednesday the fans figured out. Furthermore, the fans discovered that none of these super-champs lost their winning streaks on a Friday episode.

Sure enough, these facts seemed to fit, as Matt Amodio lost his Jeopardy! winning streak on a Monday, and Fisher fell on a Tuesday.

What Factors Determine ‘Jeopardy!’ Winners?

This phenomenon may be explained by taking a closer look at the Jeopardy! shooting schedule.

While the long-running game show airs one episode per day, the shooting schedule is entirely different.

Jeopardy! records its shows over a forty-six-day period.

Because of this, an entire week of shows is typically recorded in a single day. Typically the first show recorded in the day is the one that airs on a Monday, and the last one recorded is the show slated to run on a Friday.

So, some contestants coming in to challenge a super-champ may be assigned to an early recording while they are still full of adrenaline as the day begins, therefore more focused on their A-game as they participate.

Likewise, the shows recorded later in the day might see challengers who may be getting tired after a long day of shooting.

“You have momentum, but also you have fatigue,” explains nine-time Jeopardy! Buzzy Cohen. “And you also have the fact that if the right people are sitting in the audience watching you play, they’re getting hungry to beat you.”