Throughout the history of any game show, historic wins, losses and great prize money payout happen quite frequently, and many of these game shows come with a long history of memorable contestants. The historic run of Ohio State graduate Matt Amodio on the game show Jeopardy! came to an end this past Monday. The Yale doctorate student ended his winning streak with 38 consecutive wins and more than $1.5 million in prize money on Monday after failing to answer the final clue. His win streak was cut short by new champion Jonathan Fisher, an actor from Coral Gables, Florida.
Amodio finished number 2 on the all-time consecutive wins list behind Ken Jennings, whose total consecutive streak of 74 game wins originally came to a close in 2004. Amodio won a total of $1,518,601, which put him third of all time in the non-tournament category, putting him in third behind James Holzhauer and Jennings. Amodio, who is a fifth-year computer science PH.D student at Yale University, began competing around the time longtime host Alex Trebek had passed away from cancer within the past year. Not only did his win streak come at a time where Jeopardy! had lost a longtime host, he also became known for an unconventional method that had broken tradition within the show.
Amodio answered questions with “What’s” instead of the proper interrogative pronouns for every question, which made some longtime fans of the show roll their eyes. Amodio explained his reasoning for using “What’s” instead of “Who is, what is, etc.” so that he had more time to think and effectively respond to the question. In addition, this was within the rules of the game anyway, so it was not only allowed, but gave an interesting way to innovate the game, which had been airing since 1984. “l know going into every bar trivia game that I play that I’m going to come in with a little intimidation factor. But also, I just like the badge that it represents. As somebody who prioritizes knowledge and knowing things, this is really a good one to have following me everywhere,” said Amodio of the streak and his knowledge. Amodio’s streak has become known as the “Amodio Rodeo”, which has since proven a welcome distraction for the TV show as it continues its search for a new permanent host.
Mayim Bialik, who formerly starred as a TV actress for shows such as The Facts of Life and Big Bang Theory, has recently taken over as temporary host and shares duties with previous champion Jennings until a new permanent host ist selected. Although Bialik has addressed that she herself faces much controversy for many of her old publications, especially regarding her stance on vaccination for children, she remains free of controversy despite the previous host Mike Richards’ blunders. Bialik came onto the show amid former host Richards, who stepped down after only a few days on the job after racist and sexist comments on an old podcast of his resurfaced. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for an investigation regarding his podcasts, and Richards remains an executive producer of Jeopardy!. But the “Amodio Rodeo” took away from this controversy and created a new legacy in the long run of the game show.
Sony has stated that it will continue its search for a new host, which has been ongoing since Trebek’s death last year. But it remains to be seen whether or not the show will continue to hold up amid the stormy seas rocking it back and forth between the controversy of effectively selecting a new, well-liked host.