'Jeopardy!' Phenom James Holzhauer Only $60,000 From Show Record

Contestant James Holzhauer continues to sweep Jeopardy! and his winnings could soon set a record for the show.

Holzhauer won his 32nd straight game of Jeopardy! on Friday, raising his total winnings to a staggering $2,462,216. The professional sports gambler needs just $58,484 more to break the current winnings record, and he may well do it in the very next episode.

Holzhauer won $79,663 on Friday, and has reached similarly high sums in the previous games as well. The streak has captivated the nation even beyond Jeopardy!'s usual die-hard fans, bringing even more attention on the show in a year when many lapsed viewers were tuning back in.

The previous Jeopardy! winnings record was set by Ken Jennings, who won $2,520,700 in 2004. Jennings won 74 games in row to make that possible, so Holzhauer would still have a long way to go to beat him in that respect. However, in a recent interview on Good Morning America, Jennings admitted he was rooting for Holzhauer to beat his long-held record at last.

"For 15 years, I have thought somebody was going to make a run at this record, because I always knew it could be done," Jennings said. "I was there. I saw it happen. What I did not expect was somebody could make a run at the cash record in, like, a third the time."

Holzhauer's gambling background has played into his Jeopardy! strategy, as he has attacked the game boldly. He has gone after the highest-value questions first and placed aggressive bets on the Daily Doubles when he can get them.

Jeopardy! is a cultural phenomenon going back decades, but there has been fresh interest in it this year as long-time host Alex Trebek battles stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The beloved Trebek announced his illness back in March, and was up front with fans about a topic many people keep silent about.

He has continued to be open about the process, and this month the 78-year-old revealed that he is "near remission" at last. Trebek is doing well against enormous odds, as pancreatic cancer at this stage is often fatal.


"It's kind of mind-boggling," he said. "The doctors said they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory… some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent."

Trebek has joked that he cannot succumb to the disease, as he just recently signed a new three-year contract on Jeopardy! The quiz show airs on week nights at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.