With her 39th win on “Jeopardy!” Monday, Amy Schneider, a trans woman, has claimed the second place in consecutive earnings spot all to herself.
As of last Friday, Schneider was tied for second place with 38 games with Matt Amodio, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Yale who enjoyed a record-breaking sweep earlier this season.
Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., still trails behind Amodio – as well as contestants James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings, who is currently hosting the show – in total earnings won. Currently, Schneider’s earnings total $1,319,800 while Amodio has $1,518,601, Holzhauer has $2,462,216 and Jennings a whopping $2,520,700.
“It still feels unreal,” Schneider said in a statement to CNN about breaking Amodio’s record. “Knowing that I had this chance, I was definitely thinking about it. Then Ken said it, and I thought, ‘All right, I just accomplished this huge thing’ and it was pretty great.”
While at least one previous contestant has publicly complained about the 2003 rules change that allowed winning contestants to return to the show until they lost instead of “retiring” candidates after five wins, the remarkable winning streaks of Amodio and Schneider have made this season of “Jeopardy!” a ratings winner.
According to Nielsen data, “Jeopardy!” was the highest-rated program on broadcast and cable TV, not counting sports, for the week of Dec. 17. (Because Jeopardy airs in syndication, ratings data only becomes available two weeks after the week in question.) So far, for its 38th season, “Jeopardy!” has averaged 9.7 million viewers per episode.
Other records Schneider might possibly be eyeing include all-time winnings once the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions begins. She still has a long way to go to reach the number one spot for consecutive games one, which Jennings currently holds at 74.
Still, Schneider’s streak has been remarkable. Not only is she the first trans person to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, she is the first woman to make it to the “Jeopardy!” millionaires club.