Jeopardy! Fans have noticed a disturbing trend in past mega-champs who have dominated the game show: all of them lose on Mondays. It’s been nearly two decades since the show lifted its ban on streaks that spanned longer than five days, and in that time, only 11 contestants have won 10 or more episodes in a row. And there are only 11 contestants who have won 10 or more episodes in a row. Four Most of the losses have occurred on Tuesday or Wednesday, but most of the champs lost on Monday. What’s going on at the beginning of the week?
Two of the 10+-day streaks came in the last month from Matt Amodio, who won 38 consecutive days, and Jonathan Fisher, who won 11 games. Both of their streaks were successful. Jeopardy! According to reports, fans tried to guess the day of their loss. Three of the nine super champs who came before had lost on Monday, three on Wednesday, and none on Friday.
Amodio was evicted on a Monday and Fisher was evicted on a Tuesday. It seems more likely. Jeopardy! contestants will lose at the beginning of the week — but why?
Perhaps it’s something in the taping schedule. Jeopardy! Each game is taped in one go, so it takes only one day to watch a week of episodes. By the end of the day, if returning champs have continued to win, their adrenaline may be what’s pushing them to the win as their rivals sit, draining energy, on the sidelines for 12 hours.
Buzzy Cohen, former champion, said The Ringer He won over and over again because of that final push.
“You have momentum, but also you have fatigue,” Cohen said. “And you also have the fact that if the right people are sitting in the audience watching you play, they’re getting hungry to beat you.”
David Madden, who won 19 of the 2005 games, believes the opposite may be true. Those people watching, waiting to get their chance to play, might be the ones winning. Less They are eager to win if they can see another player changing the game.
“When the other contestants are watching a defending champion run off win after win while they’re sitting in the audience, it demoralizes them,” Madden said. “Many people see that and then get into a mindset of ‘I’m screwed, why do I have such bad luck to go up against this monster?,’ etc. That negative attitude probably contributes to worse play, but of course, these are suppositions, not facts.”
We don’t have to speculate on Amodio’s loss anymore, either. The contestant shared his reasons for losing the early week games, and said that he had a long break in between shooting.
“In my mind, I was saying, ‘Well, this might destroy my rhythm a little bit. But there’s nothing I can do about it,’” Amodio said. “If they had asked me on my last tape day after the three tape days in a week, ‘Would you want to do a fourth tape day this week?,’ I would be like, ‘Yes!’ I would totally do 10 episodes a tape day five tape days in a row if they let me.”
The superstar has his own theory about why super champs tend to lose early in the week rather than later: “The bigger thing is the buzzer timing is something that you can get a rhythm on in your head, but you can’t really carry that over across days,” he said. “I think I did OK doing it on the second tape day when there were two tape days [back to back], but when there was a two-week break—or over the season break, oh my goodness—I needed a bit more time to get back into that rhythm.”
Jeopardy! ABC airs weeknights at 7:06c on ABC
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