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‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Amy Schneider's Winning Streak Snaps at 40

'Jeopardy!' contestant Amy Schneider's latest winning streak snapped after 40 straight wins.
'Jeopardy!' contestant Amy Schneider's latest winning streak snapped after 40 straight wins. (Image credit: Sony Pictures Television/'Jeopardy!')

Jeopardy! champ Amy Schneider’s winning streak finally snapped on Wednesday after 40 games and $1,382,800 in winnings. Schneider lost to Rhone Talsma, a librarian from Chicago, who took first place with $29,600 to Schneider’s $19,600. 

On the road to victory, Talsma hit and answered correctly a key Daily Double in the Double Jeopardy! round. Headed into Final Jeopardy!, Schneider was far ahead with $27,600, while Talsma had $17,600. However, Talsma’s Final Jeopardy! bet of $12,000 and the correct answer of “What is Bangladesh?” to the clue: “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the most populous,” put him over the top. Schneider did not fill in a response and her reign was ended.

“I had thought that Rhone was going to be tough going into it,” Schneider said in a statement. “I loved hanging out with him, we had great conversation before the taping, but I could tell that he was here to play and that he was going to be good. I still came very close to winning, but I did feel like maybe I was slipping a little bit. And once it was clear that he was fast on the buzzer, I knew it was going to be a battle all the way.”

Over the course of her run, Schneider broke several records. She is now second on Jeopardy!’s all-time consecutive wins list behind only Ken Jennings, with 74 wins in 2004. She’s fourth on the all-time regular-season cash winnings list, behind Matt Amodio at $1,518,601, James Holzhauer at $2,462,216 and Jennings at $2,520,700.

“It’s really been an honor,” Schneider said. “To know that I’m one of the most successful people at a game I’ve loved since I was a kid and to know that I’m a part of its history now, I just don’t know how to process it.”

Schneider will return to face Amodio and others for the Tournament of Champions this fall. Talsma, meanwhile, will face two new challengers on Thursday’s show as he tries to create a winning streak.

“I’m still in shock,” Talsma said, also in a statement. “This is my favorite show…I was so excited to be here and I just wanted to do my best. I did not expect to be facing a 40-day champion, and I was excited to maybe see someone else slay the giant. I just really didn’t think it was going to be me, so I’m thrilled.”

In the week ended January 16, Jeopardy! was syndication’s highest-rated show at a 6.0 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Season to date, Jeopardy! also is the most-watched non-sports entertainment program on television, averaging 9.4 million viewers per episode, according to CBS Media Ventures.

Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Media Ventures. Michael Davies executive produces. ■

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.