'Jeopardy!' Former Champion Urges Major Rule Change to Return for Winners

Former Jeopardy! champion Tom Nichols is calling on the quiz show to revive a major change. During an interview with Boston Public Radio, Nichols said that the show should restart win limits, per Entertainment Weekly. His comments come on the heels of another contestant, Amy Schneider, closing an impressive winning streak. Schneider. Schneider is the reigning Jeopardy champion and has won over $1 million, currently holding the record for most games won by a woman.

Nichols, who won five games during his own run, criticized the show for allowing contestants to go on limitless winning streaks. He believes that the show should enforce win limits once again in an effort to ensure the show's success. "After about two or three wins, I think you've got such an advantage. You've been using the buzzer, – which is much more important than people realize; you're a lot more comfortable in the studio; you understand the rhythm of the game," Nichols said. "Newer people just walking in there don't really have much of a chance, and that's purely because the returning champions have mastered the mechanics of the game."

"If you've done that for eight, nine, 10 games, there's a reason they used to retire you," the former champion continued. "But the ratings are up, and people want to treat it like a sport and professionalize it. You might as well move the show to Vegas." Nichols surmised that this could be the beginning of the end for Jeopardy, despite the fact that the show's ratings go up every time there is a successful champion on one of these winning streaks. As he referenced, Jeopardy used to limit the number of games that a contestant could win. After five wins, they were forced to "retire." The show changed the rules in 2003 to allow players to go on a limitless winning streak. After that point, multiple individuals have been able to win countless games. 

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Ken Jennings, who is currently hosting Jeopardy, was one of the first winners to capitalize on this rule change. In 2004, he became the highest consecutive winner in Jeopardy history and won 74 games. In more recent years, many contestants have gone on lengthy winning streaks. Aside from Schneider, Matt Amodio also went on a winning streak in 2021 as did James Holzhauer in 2019.