I’ll take ‘Best Penalties’ For $1,000, Alex

Published: June 5, 2019

By Jim Lichtman
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While the incredible streak by Jeopardy! champ James Holzhauer has come to an end, one issue remains unresolved.

Jeopardy’s streak of integrity, intact for decades, was crushed Sunday evening when some bonehead revealed Monday’s winner on social media.

As regulars familiar with the show know, Jeopardy! is taped weeks in advance, and contestants must sign an agreement whereby they are legally bound not to reveal who wins or loses before the show has aired. However, the leaker may have come within the production company, itself.

Early Monday morning, I went online to look through two newspapers I regularly read, only to discover a blurb that someone leaked the results of Monday night’s show. Believing that Holzhauer must’ve broken record-holder Ken Jennings’ record winnings, I deliberately avoided clicking on the story.

That avoidance crumbled while I was searching for another story, only to come across a sidebar that spilled the beans.

Thanks a lot, Mr. or Ms. Leaker! I’ll bet you probably ruin surprise birthday parties and open your presents before Christmas.

Nonetheless, as The New York Times reported (June 3), “Holzhauer’s statistics will be tough to beat. During his streak, he won an average of $77,000 per game, more than double Jennings’s rate. When he buzzed in, he got the right answer (that is, question) 97 percent of the time, according to the show. He almost always entered Final Jeopardy so far ahead that no one could catch him.”

Holzhauer was not only fast with the buzzer, he also worked the toughest and most valuable questions at the bottom of the board, first. His skill extended to searching and usually finding the Daily Doubles and going all in before answering correctly, easily overwhelming opponents.

Even though he lost Monday, don’t cry for him, America.

“[the] 34-year-old professional sports bettor who lives in Las Vegas,” The Times added, “gained a celebrity status that, besides Jennings, few game show contestants ever reach. Clark County, Nev., declared a ‘James Holzhauer Day,’ and he was given a ceremonial key to the Las Vegas Strip. A minor-league baseball team in upstate New York offered him a chance to work as its general manager (for a day).”

Jeopardy! executive producer Harry Friedman said of the spoiler, “I feel bad for the viewers. It’s not fair. I’m not sure what’s gained by doing something like that, other than some malicious intent,” The New York Post reported (June 4).

(Although The Post can be a somewhat dubious source, the same story with Friedman’s quotes can be found on multiple sites, including Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter and The Daily Beast, to name a few.)

Nevertheless, justice may just be around the corner for the leaker.

“[Friedman] thinks he knows who’s responsible for leaking… and that ‘very, very, very appropriate’ action will be taken. … We think we know where and who and how.”

While Fox Business reports that the leaker could be in serious legal trouble, I have a different penalty in mind.

He or she should be forced to sit and watch video clips of President Trump for 48 continuous hours with only bread and water!

Too harsh; not harsh enough?


  1. Very interesting about the Jeopardy! winner. Jim, you are very funny about your punishment.

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