Trivia heads and Alex Trebek stans, this one’s for you: Tuesday night marked game one of the Jeopardy!: The Greatest of All Time tournament starring Titan Gods Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer, which drew a whopping total of 14.4 million viewers.
The match’s flow was noticeably influenced by Holzhauer’s signature high-roller strategy, seeing all the champs head straight for the high score answers in round one. Later, Jennings went all in on a daily double for a category in which he “did not feel comfortable,” betting 8,600. He ended up getting it correct. The night was also full of some trivia master humble-bragging: During Alex’s traditional post-commercial break back-and-forths with the contestants, Rutter noted his recall was slipping, citing that in an earlier conversation with Jennings, he wasn’t able to recall the end to a “quote about hot fat” from Warhol superstar movie Flesh.
Jennings wound up winning game one with a whopping $63,400 between the episode’s two back-to-back games. The tournament is set to continue until one contestant claims three wins or will wrap in a winner-takes-all match on Jan. 16 if necessary.
Despite Trebek’s dwindling health, his chemistry with the three champs was on point. The consummate game show host’s professionalism and grace shone during the night, blessing us with an excellent Russian accent during a czar-related category and offering the especially pleasing opportunity to hear him utter the words “bitchin’ mixtape” on a clue about a Sony Walkman. It’s a good reminder that the reason we come back to Jeopardy!; is as much about Trebek himself as it is the game’s timeless formula.
The Associated Press recently reported on a recent message from Trebek to legendary Georgia representative John Lewis: “We’re starting a new year, and let’s see if we can’t both complete the year as pancreatic cancer survivors.” He later alluded to the physical strain he felt during the filming of the Greatest of All Time inaugural night, mentioning that he was “struggling a bit.” Trebek recently stated he’s already rehearsed his farewell for his final game, and plans to ask the director for a spare 30 seconds to send off his 35 years as host of one of the greatest game shows on television.