The three highest all-time winners of the trivia game show Jeopardy! are scheduled to face off in a tournament this coming January to see who among them is the “Greatest of All Time,” according to USA Today.
James Holzhauer, who won Jeopardy!‘s Tournament of Champions just last week with a final money count of $76,923, will be up against the other two highest winners in the history of the show, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings.
The tournament will be broadcast on ABC on January 7, 2020, at 8 p.m. EST. USA Today reported that it “will consist of a series of two back-to-back games airing weeknights.”
Of the three, Rutter has earned the highest amount of cash—$4,688,440—in all of his Jeopardy! games, and, according to Vulture, has only ever lost to Watson, the computer system developed by IBM. Jennings has made $3,370,700 across all of his games, and Holzhauer has accumulated $2,464,216.
Still, it might be difficult to say who has so far performed the “best” out these three contestants. Jennings has won the most games consecutively (74) out of any Jeopardy! player, according to Insider, followed by Holzhauer with 32 consecutive wins. But Rutter competed before the show’s 2003 season, when a contestant could only play a maximum of five games. Perhaps that is part of the reason some viewers may be itching at the bit to see these contestants go head-to-head.
“These three players have won close to $10 million in Jeopardy! prize money and over 100 games among them, so it was logical,” Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek said in an interview with USA Today.
The tournament, which according to USA Today is scheduled to be taped in early December, is the brainchild of ABC reality programming chief Rob Mills, who said he believes his “dream project” is destined to become a huge “event” for television.
If prior viewer counts are any indication, Mills’s prediction may indeed prove to be prescient. The show “spiked to 14 million at the peak of Holzhauer’s run,” USA Today reported.
Reports indicated that the tournament will be hosted by Trebek, who has been the central figure of the show since 1984, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. but his announcement that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March of 2019 reminded the world that he couldn’t occupy the position interminably.
Nevertheless, Trebek has battled the disease, and, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter, plans to keep heading the show “as long as [his] skills do not diminish.” Further, Deadline reported in October 2018 that Trebek’s contract will not expire until 2022.