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TV Game Show 'Jeopardy!' Has A New Champion


This professional sports gambler was on a "Jeopardy!" winning streak until last night.


Who is James Holzhauer?

MARTIN: Exactly.

INSKEEP: Thank you.

MARTIN: If you've tuned into the show recently, chances are you saw James Holzhauer winning.

INSKEEP: He won 32 games. But last night, he was dethroned by Emma Boettcher, a librarian from Chicago.


ALEX TREBEK: What a game. Oh, my God, what a way to start the week.

MARTIN: That left Holzhauer just short of a record. In all, he netted $2.4 million, which is just about $60,000 short of the record set by Ken Jennings 15 years ago.


KEN JENNINGS: (Laughter) I am surprised that it's lasted. I - for 15 years, I have been waiting for somebody to make a real run at it.

INSKEEP: Yeah. That's Ken Jennings. We got him on the phone after last night's defeat for Holzhauer. Jennings had some words of praise for the man who almost took his title.

JENNINGS: Most great "Jeopardy!" players just do everything you would do at home but a little better. They're a little faster. They know a few more answers. He could do all that. But he also fundamentally changed the game by realizing that everyone had been playing it wrong.

MARTIN: Jennings is referring to Holzhauer's distinct style - choosing high-value clues first and making big bets - which led to big wins, including beating the single-day earnings record 16 times.

JENNINGS: The bigger wagers and the more strategic options available to the contestants, I think, either way, makes it a better game.

MARTIN: So what about a face-off between these two champions? Jennings didn't rule it out.

JENNINGS: It definitely seems like something people really want to see.

(SOUNDBITE OF MERV GRIFFIN'S "THINK!") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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