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Game Show Notes: 'Jeopardy' GOAT Tournament, 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,' Pat Sajak's Daughter

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 9, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 9, 2020 |


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The Jeopardy Greatest of All Time Tournament is airing in primtime this week on ABC, and ratings for the first night were astronomical. With 14.4 million viewers, the first night of the tourney delivered ABC’s largest primetime audience of the 2019-20 TV season. It also helped to boost the numbers for its lead-outs, Mixed-ish and Black-ish.

If you haven’t been following along, the tournament pits the three greatest Jeopardy players of all time — Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter — against each other. The first to win three “matches” is crowned The Greatest of All Time (each night during primetime, the contestants play two games, and the player with the most combined winnings from those two games wins the “match.”) Ken Jennings won the first night, and James Holzhauer pulled out the win on the second night. Brad Rutter has been something of a non-factor, although I suspect that may change, otherwise this is just a really mean tweet.

The tournament will air another match tonight and pick up again next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, even before the success of the Jeopardy tournament, ABC had been planning to resurrect Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, the game show that debuted in primetime back in 1999 and crushed in the ratings for three years before ABC over-milked that cow (Millionaire was seen by as many as 30 million viewers a night, but after airing the show 5 nights a week, and then 3 nights a week, the primetime version was eventually undone by overexposure). They’re bringing it back for a limited run, this time with host Jimmy Kimmel. Celebrities will be sharing the hot seat this time with a guest of their own choosing. The revival will debut on April 8th, and they’re pulling out all the stops, including a play-along app that will let viewers at home win the same amount of money as the contestant.

Finally, I know that no one gives a rat’s ass about Wheel of Fortune, but Vanna White has been hosting this week, as Pat Sajak (blergh) recovers from surgery. Sajak is a bad human being, but his daughter filled in for Vanna White earlier this week, turning the letters. If you are curious about what Pat Sajak’s daughter, Maggie, might look like, here you go. If you haven’t watched Wheel of Fortune since you were very young while you were visiting your grandparents, you may also be surprised to know that White and Maggie Sajak (and I assume Pat, as well) talk to the television audience like they are enfeebled old people who are hard of hearing (to be fair, that is 80 percent of the show’s audience).


Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.


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