Collins Wraps 'Jeopardy!' Run as Show's Third-Highest Money Winner

Updated Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 11:32 am ET.

Julia Collins wrapped her winning streak on Monday as the second-winningest contestant to ever play Jeopardy!, following only Ken Jennings with her 20-game winning streak.

Collins also is by far the winningest woman to have ever played the game, taking home $428,100. She will return to the show later this year to play in its annual Tournament of Champions.

“There are no diminishing returns winning on ‘Jeopardy!,’ it just gets more exciting every time you win,” Collins said in a statement. “I’m delighted that preparation, confidence, and an itchy trigger finger aligned so well. I told Alex [Trebek] on one show that I was having the time of my life, and I meant it.”

Collins finally lost her 21st match when she went into Final Jeopardy! in second place.

“I had a feeling my number was up when I was in second place going into Final Jeopardy!,” she said. “That hadn’t happened to me before. No excuses: I got outplayed that day. Losing isn’t fun, but I couldn’t have asked for a better experience [than] being on Jeopardy!.”  

Collins’ $428,100 payout makes her the third-highest money winner in the show’s history for regular-season, non-tournament play. Jennings won 74 games and $2,520,700 in 2004. In total, Jennings has won $3,196,300, including tournament play. Brad Rutter, who just won the show’s Battle of the Decades, is the show’s highest money-winner, having taken home a total $4,470,102, as well as a pair of Chevrolet Camaros.

With such events as Collins' winning streak, Albert Chu's unorthodox play and the popular Battle of the Decades, Jeopardy! has been challenging CBS Television Distribution's Wheel of Fortune as the highest-rated game show this season, last week tying the game-show leader for the first time in nine years.

Jeopardy!, hosted by Alex Trebek and executive produced by Harry Friedman, is celebrating its 30th season this year. The show is produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. This year, it won the inaugural Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Writing for Quiz and Audience Participation.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.