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Sam Buttrey Named First-Ever ‘Jeopardy!’ Professors Tournament Champion

Sam Buttrey, an associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., will now proceed to 'Jeopardy!''s Tournament of Champions.
Sam Buttrey, an associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., will now proceed to 'Jeopardy!''s Tournament of Champions. (Image credit: Sony Pictures Television/'Jeopardy!')

Sam Buttrey, an associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, won Jeopardy!’s first-ever Professors Tournament on Friday, taking home the $100,000 grand prize and securing a spot in Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions at the end of the season. 

Ed Hashima, history professor at American River College in Sacramento, California, took second and won $50,000 and Alisa Hove, botany professor at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C., came in third and earned $25,000.

“This has been the greatest time, and to come out ahead of all these other great players is something I’ll remember forever,” Buttrey said in a statement. “The group was uniformly so smart, charming, and warm, and there’s been a real feeling of camaraderie from the very beginning.”

At Jeopardy!'s Tournament of Champions, Buttrey will face Yale PhD candidate Matt Amodio, who earlier this season won 38 games in a row and more than $1.5 million, and actor Jonathan Fisher, who defeated Amodio and went on to win 11 consecutive games. Current champion Amy Schneider, who so far has racked up 13 wins, also has secured a slot.

Also: Syndication Ratings:  'Jeopardy!' Jumps Back Into Lead

“I know there are some strong players, but I want to go up against them,” Buttrey said. “I would like to play against Matt Amodio, he’s a strong player and I’d like to see how I can do.”

Jeopardy!, which is produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Media Ventures, led all of syndication in households in the week ended Dec. 5 with a 5.7 live plus same day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. ■

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.