“Jeopardy!” has another breakout contestant on its hands now that Jason Zuffranieri won his 18th consecutive game and earned more than half a million in total prize money.
The math teacher from Albuquerque, N.M. has won prize money totaling $502,096. This makes him the third contestant in the game’s history to earn more than $500,000 in regular-season, non-tournament play, according to a press release. Only longtime champions James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings earned more than him, with Holzhauer taking home $2,462,216 across 32 games in 2019 and Jennings winning $2,520,700 across 74 games in 2004.
Zuffranieri will try for his 19th consecutive win Wednesday. He currently sits in fifth place on the “Jeopardy!” all-time consecutive games list. Only Holzhauer, Jennings, Julia Collins (20 games) and David Madden (19 games) are ahead of him.
“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our show,” he said during the premiere. “I truly hope you folks have enjoyed revisiting some of our special tournaments throughout this past summer. But today, 'Jeopardy!' begins its 36th season on the air and I’m happy to report, I’m still here.”
Prior to the Season 36 debut, Trebek announced that he was done with chemotherapy. However, roughly a week after his return, the 79-year-old host revealed that his doctors recommended he undergo another round of treatment after his “numbers went sky high” and he lost 12 pounds in one week.