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James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter duel on ABC

James Holzhauer just won "Jeopardy!" -The tournament of champions, but you haven't seen the last of him.

Holzhauer and the long-term quiz's two other biggest winners, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, will meet in a prime-time Greatest of All Time tournament on ABC in January, marking the first network with the original "Jeopardy!" 30 years. ("Jeopardy" is syndicated to local stations, but broadcast on ABC stores in many top markets.)

"When James had his run last year, many people wondered, how would he do it to Ken Jennings? Brad Rutter? (They are) our two most successful players in "Jeopardy!" History, says host Alex Trebek in an exclusive interview. "These three players have won close to $ 10 million in" Jeopardy! "Prize money and over 100 games among them, so it made sense. "

  James Holzhauer, with host Alex Trebek, won 2019

But the GOAT tournament will be anything but typical: It consists of a series of two back-to-back games, which airs weeknight (8 EST / PST) starting January 7. The player with the most combined winnings from the two games wins the "match," and the game continues in consecutive evenings (except Monday) until one of them has won three games and takes home a $ 1 million prize. (The other finishers receive $ 250,000 each). This means that the tournament can last anywhere from three to seven days.

Chief reality program manager Rob Mills came up with the idea for his "favorite show" and calls it "my dream project" which is intended to succeed in an uncertain television world. "I don't know how this won't be an event."

Rutter and Jennings had met IBM's Watson computer in 2011 and in a All-Stars match in March. But it required Holzhauer impressive distance to give a third, captivating player and seal the deal. "The fact that it took someone to play it as a player with riverboats … we had never seen anyone like this," he says. "We had to make this happen."

  Ken Jennings (AP Photo / Seth Wenig)

Holzhauer, 35, bets the single game on April 17, with more than $ 131,127, collecting $ 2.46 million during his 32-player strike last spring. (He adds another $ 250,000 from last week's tournament.) His quirky, aggressive style of play made fans and profits much faster than Jennings, 45, who won $ 2.52 million in 72 games in 2004. Rutter, 41, never cracked the top 10 in regular season games; he first appeared in 2000, when the show limited players to five games in a row. But he is the biggest overall money winner at a US $ 4.68 million gaming show, mainly from tournaments.

Latest move: James Holzhauer wins & # 39; Jeopardy! & # 39; Tournament of champions, added to the strike

Big winners are rating magnets: "Jeopardy!" is averaging 8.8 million viewers this season (well before many prime shows), but nailed to 14 million at the peak of Holzhauer.

Trebek, who loses the fight against cancer in the pancreas in step 4, does not predict the outcome of the new tournament, scheduled to be taped early next month. But "you have to realize, I think, that Ken and Brad will have a small disadvantage," he says. “They won the majority of their money 10, 15 years ago, so they have aged a bit. And will their reflexes be as good as James Holzhauer? Who knows? But we will find out in this tournament. It's going to be a blast, we're all happy about it. "

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A lasting change – and a key to Holzhauer's success – is his penchant for choosing clues with the highest value first, a tactic imitation of many other players then." Ken and Brad are familiar with James's strategy to first select the bottom lines and collect some funds to take advantage of the Daily Double if he turns it down. When they know it is his strategy, they can prevent it by doing it themselves, says Trebek. But "you have to be confident in your knowledge."

Last time "Jeopardy!" broadcast on a large network in prime time? "Super Jeopardy!", A special edition of the four-player show, aired on Saturday nights in the summer of 1990.

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