After 40 straight victories and over $1.4 million in prize money, “Jeopardy!” winner Amy Schneider’s sparkling record came to an end on Wednesday when she was beaten by a Chicago librarian.
Schneider’s success has vaulted her into the company of Ken Jennings, who is acting as a guest presenter, and other quiz show legends. Schneider, a trans woman, became a public symbol of triumph for those who are typically excluded.
“It’s still hard to believe,” she stated of her remarkable performance. “It’s something I’ll be known for, and that’s pretty cool,” she says.
Rhone Talsma, the new champion, got the correct answer to the last “Jeopardy!” clue, winning $29,600. Schneider finished second with $19,600, despite being in the unique situation of beginning the final round short of a runaway.
In a statement, Talsma stated, “I’m still in shock.” “I wasn’t expecting to go up against a 40-day champion, and I was hoping to watch someone else fight the monster.” I honestly didn’t believe it would be me, so I’m overjoyed.”
Talsma performed well, according to Schneider, and did a “wonderful job of grabbing opportunities when they came up and putting himself in position to be able to win.”
Schneider was perplexed by the following response concerning nations of the world: the only country whose English name ends in a “h” and is also one of the ten most populated. (Cue the music from “Jeopardy!” — and the answer is, “What is Bangladesh?”)
She was upset yet glad that “I don’t have to come up with any more tales,” the stories that participants share during game breaks, when the game and her streak came to an end.
After their final game airs, contestants get their prizes, and Schneider’s spending plans include clothing shopping and, in particular, vacation.
Schneider, an engineering manager from Dayton, Ohio, who now resides in Oakland, California, was second in the regular season in consecutive games won, trailing only Jennings (74 games) and Matt Amodio (38 games).
Schneider is fourth on the regular-season winners list with $1,382,800, behind Jennings ($2,520,700), James Holzhauer ($2,462,216), and Amodio ($1,518,601).
Schneider is the first transgender person to qualify for the show’s “Tournament of Champions.”
“I had a feeling my time was running out, even if the scores didn’t show it,” Schneider said. Traveling to Los Angeles for tapings was exhausting — five programs a day, two days a week — and it took its toll.
She said that breaking Jennings’ long-standing record was “impossible to comprehend” when she exceeded Amodio’s number of straight triumphs.
Schneider’s breadth of knowledge, lightning-quick responses, and pleasant yet efficient demeanor have earned her a dedicated following. Schneider was like a “case worker assigned to each show, and when she’s done she picks up her suitcase, nods, and departs,” according to comedy writer Louis Virtel, a former “Jeopardy!” player.
Her handling of anti-trans trolls was also praised, with one measured response earning her a shoutout from writer and Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein.
“Whatever support I’ve been able to provide the trans community is always going to be the best consequence of all of this,” Schneider said. “I’m here because of the sacrifices made by many trans individuals, many of whom have risked their lives. It’s incredibly special for me to be able to contribute to moving that cause forward.”
Schneider has a message for the “Jeopardy!” contestants. ” viewers who would miss having her in their lives: “I realized that I am very sorry for all of my admirers.” … I’d want to express my gratitude for their help and assure them that everything will be well.”
“Jeopardy!” is going through January 17th this season.
With an average of 9.4 million viewers, ” rated as the most-watched syndicated show, up 563,000 viewers from the previous season. According to Nielsen, the show had an average of 11 million viewers for the week of January 10-17.
Schneider and Amodio’s streaks have helped “Jeopardy!” move on from the bungled replacement of its beloved host, the late Alex Trebek. Last year, Sony Pictures Television chose executive producer Mike Richards to replace Trebek, but he left the program soon after old podcasts surfaced with his sexist and other disparaging statements.
There is yet to be a permanent host, with Mayim Bialik, who was selected host of prime-time “Jeopardy!” specials, and Jennings alternating this season. Jennings also works on the program as a consultant producer.