Even when he’s losing, James Holzhauer is breaking Jeopardy! records.
When the game show phenom was finally taken down on June 3 after a historic run, his losing episode reportedly notched 14.5 million same-day viewers, the most since previous Jeopardy! whiz Ken Jennings’ loss garnered 18 million in 2004. Measuring only by same-day viewers, Holzhauer’s final episode is the third most-watched regularly scheduled series episode of the 2018-19 television season, trailing only the series finale of The Big Bang Theory (18.5 million viewers) and a December episode of 60 Minutes (14.6 million), according to multiple reports.
The show’s third-place ranking seems even more impressive when taking into account that it beat primetime shows like Game of Thrones and This Is Us. However, when counting delayed and nonlinear viewing, quite a few TV shows and events reportedly drew more audiences. The Game of Thrones finale, for instance, will likely grab 50 million views once HBO accounts for viewers who watched on streaming services or caught encores. In comparison, Jeopardy! doesn’t draw as many DVR replays as big entertainment programs, and only its special episodes are available on Hulu and Netflix.
Holzhauer, a professional Los Vegas gambler, walked away with $2,464,216 in winnings (before taxes), making him the third-highest overall winner behind Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. He has already donated money to Vegas-based charities and said that he and his wife plan to use some of the money to take a food tour around the world.