'Jeopardy!' Makes History With First Ever Sudden Death Tie-Breaker

For the first time in Jeopardy!'s history, the game show ended in a tie Thursday night. The crazy finish required a tie-breaker question to keep contestant Laura McClean's winning streak alive.

The Final Jeopardy clue was a difficult one - "Once known as the Norman Isles, per the British government, this group is 'not part of the U.K.' and 'never been colonies.'" None of the players got it right, and both McLean and Sarah Norris wagered enough to give themselves a $6,799 cushion. They had no idea they would both end up with that at the end.

This required a tie-breaker clue - "Her April [2017] decision to call a snap Parliamentary election proved less than brilliant on June 8." The question was "Who is Theresa May?" which McClean got in first. That made her the two-day champion with $19,698.

As Entertainment Weekly points out, the tie breaker rule was only created in 2016. "If there are two or three players tied for first place after each contestant unveils their Final Jeopardy! response, [host] Alex [Trebek] will present one more category and read the clue. The clue has no dollar value and does not increase the player's winnings," reads the rule.

This means the show will no longer have co-champions. If neither player got the tie-breaker clue right, there would be another clue until someone gets it.

Thankfully, the clue had nothing to do with football or baseball, two subjects Jeopardy! contestants have trouble with. In February, three contestants fumbled every clue in a football category to time with the Super Bowl.

"Fun fact: Our contestants answered as many clues in this category as the [Cleveland Browns] had wins this season," the Jeopardy! team tweeted.

The Jeopardy! writers have plenty of rules for odd situations.


If no one gets the Final Jeopardy! question right and everyone ends up with no money, there is no champion. And in an even rarer case, if there are no contestants in positive territory after Double Jeopardy!, none of players move on to the Final Jeopardy! round. This has never happened before.

Photo credit: YouTube/Jeopardy!