The biggest Jeopardy! showdown in history kicked off tonight, with Ken Jennings ending up as the big winner of night one. As expected, Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time proved to be a fierce competition between the trio of the show's biggest winners, Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer. The three kept clearing the boards without hesitation, taking the high-dollar clues first and offering up very few wrong responses during the hour-long broadcast.
But in the end, Jennings proved to be the quickest with the buzzer, scoring 63,400. Holzhauer came close with 63,200, and Rutter placing third with only 10,400.
While Holzhauer was the one who got things going on the first night, host Alex Trebek explained that the three contestants' places on the stage were decided at random. He added that throughout the tournament, each game will begin with a random selection on who gets to select the show's first answer.
Earlier this week, both Jennings and Rutter sang their praises of Trebek, with Jennings calling him simply "irreplaceable." Trebek was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March of last year. While he vowed to continue his hosting duties in the meantime, he has dealt with some unfortunate news regarding his treatment of late.
Despite the prognosis, Trebek has kept a positive outlook, thanks in part to an outpouring of support from his fans.
"I've lived a good life, a full life, and I'm nearing the end of that life," Trebek recently told CTV. "If it happens, why should I be afraid that?"
Rutter first appeared on the show back in 2000, back when contestants were only allowed a total of five rounds at the podium. He was invited back to both the 2001 Tournament of Champions and the 2002 Million Dollar Masters Tournament and won them both, making him the show's biggest monetary winner.
Jennings showed up in 2004, less than a year after the show lifted its five-time limit. He went on to set the still-standing record of 74 straight victories, which put him as the show's second-biggest winner -- financially speaking. In the spring of 2019, Holzhauer "came in like gangbusters" according to Trebek, and triumphed over a 32-game winning streak.
The first competitor to win three matches will take home a $1 million grand prize. For those interested in tuning in, Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament will continue tomorrow night and Thursday at 8/7 central on ABC, and continue next week starting Jan. 14.