On Friday, Matt Amodio, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Yale, won his 28th game, amassing over $1 million in winnings. He is only the third contestant to do so in regular-season gameplay, after Ken Jennings, the contestant-turned-producer for the show, and James Holzhauer, the phenom who captured audiences with his winning streak in 2019.
Amodio’s success is no doubt a welcome distraction for the game show, which has been struggling to permanently fill the role of host after Alex Trebek died last year. Some of the shows during Amodio’s streak were hosted by Mike Richards, who was then the show’s executive producer. (Richards was named host of the show — but then stepped down after The Ringer reported that he had made offensive comments on a podcast taped years ago.) The actress Mayim Bialik, who had already been chosen to host the show’s prime-time specials, took over in his place. (She and Jennings will host the show until the end of the year.)
Amodio — whose winnings currently stand at $1,004,001 — researches artificial intelligence at Yale and has said that he has been watching “Jeopardy!” since before he was “even able to understand the words.”