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After 35 years, ‘Jeopardy’ crowns its all-stars

After 35 years, ‘Jeopardy’ crowns its all-stars

Over the past two weeks, the hit game show “Jeopardy” celebrated its 35th anniversary by bringing together multiple former champions in a team-based tournament, known as the “All-Star Games.” 

The teams, headed by fan-favorite contestants Buzzy Cohen, Austin Rogers, Ken Jennings, Julia Collins, Colby Burnett and Brad Rutter, began the tournament with draft picks of other champions, creating teams of three. During each “Jeopardy” game, the teams would then pick who got to represent their team in each round – one for Single Jeopardy, one for Double Jeopardy and one for Final Jeopardy – playing to each other’s strengths.

By the time the game on Tuesday, March 5, rolled around, the teams had been whittled down to Team Ken, Team Brad and Team Colby. This was no surprise, however, since roughly the same outcome had occurred back in 2014 during Jeopardy’s 30th Anniversary “Battle of the Decades,” where Jennings and Rutter again ended up as finalists. 

Much like Team Colby, the third contestant there was more or less set to lose no matter what. Jennings and Rutter were also the two former champions selected to compete against IBM’s Watson supercomputer in 2011, which they both lost to.

Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak in “Jeopardy” history, with a whopping 74 consecutive games won back in 2004. No contestant has ever gotten close to reaching that number, with eliminated team captain Collins holding the second-highest win streak at merely 20 consecutive games.

Rutter’s claim to fame is having won the most prize money in “Jeopardy” history. He became a five-time champion in 2000. He went on to win the 2001 “Tournament of Champions,” the 2002 “Million Dollar Masters” tournament, the 2005 “Ultimate Tournament of Champions” and the aforementioned 2014 “Battle of the Decades.” These earned him over $4 million in winnings from “Jeopardy” alone. 

His original “Jeopardy” run occurred before the show lifted their five-game restriction and his only defeat was at the hands of IBM’s Watson. Rutter has also never been defeated by a human being. To the chagrin of Team Ken, the “All-Star Games” were no exception.

Rutter only played the Double Jeopardy round this game, leaving team member Larissa Kelly to compete for Final Jeopardy against Burnett and Matt Jackson. He didn’t leave her hanging out to dry, however, since he gifted his team with a subtotal of $34,000 going into the finals, which made it a surefire victory against Team Ken and Team Colby.

The category of Final Jeopardy was “Constitutional Amendment Math,” asking the players to add up the numbers of the amendments “banning state-sponsored official religion, ending slavery & repealing prohibition.” 

Each player answered the correct number – 35 (the First Amendment, the 13th Amendment and the 21st Amendment).However, only Burnett bet any amount of money – $7,001 out of his team’s $9,600 – still landing him third place. Much like the “Ultimate Tournament of Champions” and “Battle of the Decades,” Jennings ended up in second while Rutter’s team reigned supreme, earning $1 million total ($300,000 each), bringing his total game show winnings to nearly $5 million.

Will Rutter ever make it to $5 million? Only time will tell, but as it stands, his record appears unbeatable.

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