'Jeopardy!' Record Holder Ken Jennings Thinks Showdown With James Holzhauer 'Inevitable'

Jeopardy! record-holder Ken Jennings thinks a face-off with James Holzhauer, who came up short of the all-time earnings record, is "inevitable."

"It's got to be inevitable," Jennings, 44, told Good Morning America Thursday. "But Jeopardy! only does those special tournaments so often... And obviously I can't get 29-year-old Ken to show up with his sleek, 29-year-old brain, it's got to be me with my broke down brain."

Jennings still holds the record for winning 74 games in a row, winning $2,520,700 during that span. It is the most winnings ever in regular Jeopardy! gameplay, and just $56,484 more than Holzhauer. However, Holzhauer only needed 32 games to reach $2,464,216 in winnings.

"For many years I have assumed that the record is beatable," Jennings said. "It seemed like he might be the guy, the chosen one, so I was very excited. I wanted to see it come down to the wire, I wanted to see if it could be beaten because I think it can be done."

Jennings said Holzhauer getting so close was a testament to "how fragile a Jeopardy! streak is."
Jennings compared Holzhauer's gameplay to Watson, the IBM supercomputer that famously beat Jennings in a special Jeopardy! episode in 2011.

"Watching James on that show, he feels as close to Watson as you can get and still have a pulse," he told Good Morning America. "My guess is playing against James is going to be a lot like playing against Watson."
Jennings said he has spoken to Holzhauer through emails and offered some advice.

"I just told him like take some time to think about what it is you want, because you do have a window, like do you want a different job, do you have a book idea, do you have a podcast idea?" Jennings said. "Because make some phone calls, now is the time."

When it comes to other young people, Jennings said thinks anyone who feels they are different to "follow your obsessions and "wear those on your sleeves."

"You don't always feel like you fit in as the smart kid, you become aware at a certain age that it's not a hit with girls to know Captain Kirk's middle name. So I would kind of hide that know-it-all part of myself," Jennings said. "I love that there is less of stigma now against being any kind of a nerd or a geek. It's OK to let your freak flag fly."

Jennings recently visited the Jeopardy! set to spend time with host Alex Trebek, who is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

"I think in recent months he had been doing the show in some pain from his cancer treatments but that day he was in good spirits," Jennings told GMA. "That day as soon as the cameras turn on he can turn it on and he can turn into Alex Trebek, that really means a lot to America."


Late last month, Trebek said his tumors have "shrunk by more than 50 percent," but still has a long way to go.

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