'Jeopardy!' Jump Starts Season 36 with Hot New Player

Jeopardy! might have already found its next James Holzhauer.

Just three weeks into the show’s 36th season, math teacher Jason Zuffranieri already has racked up 18 wins for a total of $502,096. That puts him third on the all-time regular-season, non-tournament winnings list, behind only Ken Jennings, who has won a total of $2,520,700 across a record-setting 74 consecutive games, and Holzhauer, who won $2,462,216 last spring across 32 games.

Related: Holzhauer, Boettcher Returning to 'Jeopardy!' with Tournament of Champions

Zuffranieri, who hails from Albuquerque, N. M., is fifth on the list of consecutive wins, behind Jennings, Holzhauer, Julia Collins at 20 games and David Madden at 18 games.

He takes on two new challengers on Wednesday.

Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS television Distribution. It’s hosted by Alex Trebek and executive produced by Harry Friedman.

Related: The Five Spot: Harry Friedman

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.