Ken Jennings talks 'Jeopardy! Masters' season 2 finale, can James Holzhauer win again?

ByJennifer Matarese OTRC logo
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Ken Jennings talks about hosting Jeopardy Masters finale
Jennifer Matarese interviews Ken Jennings about hosting the season 2 "Jeopardy! Masters" finale on ABC.

NEW YORK -- "Jeopardy! Masters" will award the Trebek Trophy to a new champion on Wednesday night.

Victoria Groce, James Holzhauer, and Yogesh Raut are the final three contestants.

The finale is a two-game competition with the third-place contestant taking home $150,000, $250,000 for second place, and $500,000 plus the Trebek Trophy for the winner.

"Alex's presence looms large and we call it the Alex Trebek stage now and the players and the audience really enjoy that and who better to name the trophy after than Alex, especially when you have that amazing alliteration, Trebek Trophy," said Ken Jennings, "Jeopardy!" host.

The total from the first game will be added to that of the second and that's how the winner is determined.

Jennings says that although Victoria and Yogesh haven't played as much "Jeopardy!" as James, you shouldn't count them out just yet.

"The shock of the 'Masters' is these players that we didn't know very well are playing at or above his level," Jennings said. "We have three James Holzhauer-level geniuses slugging it out tonight."

Excitement is in the air and there's a lot of bragging rights, and money on the line for the contestants.

"Unlike on your average 'Jeopardy!' night, these are people who are very comfortable with the game. Their minds are always turning. They are going to come up with incredibly difficult responses, but they also somehow have enough brain space left to make a joke or tease another player, or try to zing me," Jennings said.

Holzhauer took home the trophy and prize on the show's first season, can he do it a second time?

"Last year he looked beatable! So I wonder if that gave Yogesh and Victoria some ideas," Jennings said. "I have to say after seeing them play in the earlier rounds of the competition, they do not look intimidated at all."

One thing is for sure, Jennings is grateful for the joy that this show has brought into his life. When asked where he would be without the show, said it's something that often crosses his mind.

"I think about that a lot. Next month is the 20th anniversary of my first appearance on 'Jeopardy!' A week or two is the 20th anniversary. I was kind of a mildly unhappy computer programmer at the time, kind of thinking to myself, I should do something different with my life. You know, just on a whim I went on 'Jeopardy!' So, I think there is another world where I'm a mildly unhappy computer programmer and Dr. Oz is hosting 'Jeopardy!' It's a very dark universe," Jennings said.

Don't miss the "Jeopardy! Masters" season 2 finale on Wednesday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, and streaming the next day on Hulu.

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