Ken Jennings is officially the greatest “Jeopardy!” player of all time. The “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament concluded Tuesday night with Jennings emerging victorious against Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer — and it all came down to the Final Jeopardy question.
The question? “He has 272 speeches, the most of any non-title character in a Shakespeare tragedy.” Jennings correctly answered “Iago” while Rutter simply wrote: “You’re the best, Alex!” Holzhauer’s incorrect answer of “Horatio” was what sealed the deal for Jennings, who was awarded the $1 million prize.
The tournament wasn’t just a boon to the indisputably best “Jeopardy!” players on the planet. ABC also reaped the benefits, with viewership clocking in at roughly 15 million nightly over the course of the tournament, according to The Associated Press.
Thursday’s third match reached 15.5 million viewers on the night it aired, the biggest audience yet. To put that in perspective, Fox averaged 14 million viewers last fall for baseball’s World Series.
The emergence of Holzhauer, who set several records for single-day earnings, gave “Jeopardy!” three well-known players with distinctive claims to fame: Rutter has earned more money than any player in the game’s modern-day history, and Jennings set the record for longest run as champion.
Nostalgia for “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who’s battling pancreatic cancer, has also made the competition resonate with viewers. Although he’s acknowledged his struggles with the disease, Trebek said he plans to continue his hosting duties for the foreseeable future.
“As long as I feel my skills have not diminished too much, and as long as I’m enjoying spending time with bright people like these three [contestants] … then I’ll continue doing it,” he said.