Ph.D. Student Matt Amodio Becomes Third 'Jeopardy!' Champion to Win $1 Million in Regular Play

"This was beyond my wildest dreams going in," said Matt Amodio, who now joins Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer as the only contestants to pass the million-dollar mark outside of tournaments

Jeopardy champion Matt Amodio
Photo: Jeopardy!

Matt Amodio has officially added himself to the Jeopardy! hall of fame!

On Friday's episode of the popular game show series, Amodio — a Ph.D. student at Yale University who is from New Haven, Connecticut — become the third person in Jeopardy! history to earn more than $1 million in non-tournament gameplay.

The college student won $48,800 during the latest episode, which marked his 28th victory and brought his total winnings to $1,004,001.

Aside from Amodio, the only other contestants in Jeopardy! history to ever win more than $1 million in games played amid the regular season are Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer. Jennings, 47, won $2,520,700 over a 74-game streak, while Holzhauer, 37, garnered $2,462,216 over 32 wins, according to the Associated Press.

"This was beyond my wildest dreams going in," Amodio said in a statement, per Deadline. "I knew it was a possibility, but I thought it was a very remote possibility, and to have it actually happen is unbelievable."

Amodio's impressive winning streak came about as temporary show host Mayim Bialik ended her first week back on the series amid the departure of previously announced host and executive producer, Mike Richards.

Going forward, the Big Bang Theory alum and neuroscientist, 45, will now share hosting responsibilities with Jennings through the end of the year. Bialik will serve as host for episodes running through Nov. 5, before she and Jennings — who was a contestant in 2004 — will split hosting duties as their schedules allow.

Sony announced on Aug. 11 that Richards, 46, had been selected as the new permanent host of the daily syndicated game show, about nine months after the death of beloved longtime host Alex Trebek. Just over a week later, however, he told staffers in a memo obtained by PEOPLE that he was stepping down after disparaging comments he previously made about women and other marginalized groups resurfaced.

Richards apologized in a statement obtained by PEOPLE prior to the news of his exit, saying in part, "It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry."

He later also exited the show as executive producer, and the game show went ahead with airing Richards' taped episodes after his exit.

Jeopardy! airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings).

Related Articles