Ken Jennings Thinks a Jeopardy! Face-Off Against James Holzhauer Is 'Inevitable'
An epic Jeopardy! showdown may be upon us!
“I think it’s inevitable,” Jennings, 45, said of the possibility of him taking on Holzhauer, 35, at some point in the future.
On Monday, Holzhauer finally ended his 32-game winning streak, during which he raked in $2.46 million, just shy of Jennings’ record earnings of $2.5 million in 2004.
“But Jeopardy! only does those special tournaments so often,” Jennings added. “And obviously I can’t get 29-year-old Ken to show up with his sleek, 29-year-old brain, it’s got to be me with my broke down brain.”
Jennings still holds the game show’s record amount of consecutive wins, with 74 straight victories, and has the highest total earnings of any contestant ever.
Jennings also admitted he was rooting for Holzhauer throughout his competitive run, despite the competitor almost breaking his record he set in 2004.
“For many years, I have assumed that the record is beatable,” he said. “It seemed like he might be the guy, the chosen one, so I was very excited. I wanted to see it come down to the wire, I wanted to see if it could be beaten because I think it can be done.”
“He was so close to the cash record,” Jennings added. “And it just shows how fragile a Jeopardy! streak is.”
Jennings added that he’d “traded emails” and advice with Holzhauer during his run on the show.
“I just told him like take some time to think about what it is you want, because you do have a window, like do you want a different job, do you have a book idea, do you have a podcast idea?” he said. “Because make some phone calls, now is the time.”
After his defeat on Monday night’s show, Holzauer released a statement, acknowledging how close he came to beating Jennings’ record.
“I never really believed I could win 75 shows, but I definitely thought I had a great shot at Ken’s cash winnings record,” Holzhauer said.
“I think in recent months, he had been doing the show in some pain from his cancer treatments, but that day he was in good spirits,” Jennings explained. “That day as soon as the cameras turn on, he can turn it on and he can turn into Alex Trebek, that really means a lot to America.”
Last month, Trebek, 78, revealed to PEOPLE that he was in “near-remission,” despite the initial diagnosis he was given months ago.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” the host told PEOPLE. “The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory … some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.”