People also are talking about the Democratic presidential field, new documents and an ex-ambassador's surveillance and a zoo lion dies after losing her mate.
Kids on playground doused by jet fuel from Delta flight
Federal authorities will investigate why an airliner with engine trouble dumped jet fuel over a densely populated area of Southern California while making an emergency return to the airport, dousing dozens of schoolchildren in a smelly vapor.
Delta Air Lines Flight 89 to Shanghai, with 181 passengers and crew on board, turned back to Los Angeles International Airport only minutes after taking off Tuesday.
The pilot reported a compressor stall in the right engine — damage to a jet turbine that can occur through malfunction or when a foreign object such as a bird hits an engine. The damage can reduce engine thrust or, in worst cases, lead to a fire. Planes can take off weighted down for their journey, but if they must land early because of an emergency, it can be necessary to dump fuel so that the aircraft is lighter to avoid damage.
Air traffic control asked the aircrew if they wanted to return to LAX immediately or remain over the ocean "to hold and burn fuel," according to a recording of the radio communications.
"We're going to go ahead," the pilot or co-pilot responds. "We've got it back under control. ... We're not critical."
"OK, so you don't need to hold or dump fuel or anything like that?" the controller asks.
"Ah, negative," the pilot responds.
But the plane did later dump fuel, possibly while preparing to make a final turn before descending.
The fuel sprayed out of the plane in two lines and descended at midday in the city of Cudahy and nearby parts of Los Angeles County, about 13 miles (21 kilometers) east of the airport. It fell on five elementary schools, officials said.
The fuel, described by fire officials as a vapor, caused minor skin and lung irritation to 56 children and adults but nobody was taken to the hospital and the only decontamination required was soap and water, officials said.
Diego Martinez, a sixth-grader at Park Avenue Elementary in Cuday, said he and his classmates were outside for physical education class when they saw the airplane flying low overhead.
"It was very close," he said.
Shortly afterward, the air filled with the pungent odor of fuel.
"It was very strong, the odor," the 12-year-old said.
Diego wasn't doused but some of his friends complained that their skin was itching.
Some teachers at Park Avenue had headaches from the smell, said Antonio Buenabad, area representative for the United Teachers Los Angeles union.
"They were anxious to get home and shower because the stench was very strong," he said of the teachers.
Delta Air Lines said the aircraft landed safely after releasing fuel, "which was required as part of normal procedure to reach a safe landing weight."
The internet was quickly clogged with people questioning the decision and suggesting that the pilot could have shut down the engine, retained the fuel and landed with one working engine at some risk of damage to the plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating.
"There are special fuel-dumping procedures for aircraft operating into and out of any major U.S. airport," the FAA said in a statement. "These procedures call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground."
However, pilots can deviate from the rules in an emergency for safety reasons, said Doug Moss, a retired airline captain and owner of AeroPacific Consulting, LLC, an aviation consulting firm based in Reno, Nevada.
The pilot could have stayed over the ocean to dump his fuel but that could have taken a half-hour up to an hour, Moss said.
Moss said when there is a compressor stall, the crew can't determine how much damage was done internally to the engine.
"The fan blades may have separated and cut into the fuel lines, leaving an uncontrollable fire as a future possibility," Moss said.
"He's flying an airplane with a damaged engine that may be on fire," Moss said. "So he has to make the decision: Do I spend the time to dump fuel or do I put this thing on the ground as soon as I can? You're not going to kill anyone by dumping fuel."
"There's no dereliction of duty. Everybody's trying to do the best they can but it's a fast-paced, dynamic ballgame and there's not a lot of time to think ... lives are at stake," Moss said. "He got it on the ground safely. Unfortunately, there was collateral damage. People got gas poured over them."
Cornell said 31 children and adults were affected by the fuel dump at Park Avenue school and another 12 at 93rd Street Elementary school. The rest of those affected were at other schools.
Associated Press reporters John Antczak and Christopher Weber contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
Healthy zoo lion dies after fall weeks after her mate was euthanized
A 14-year-old female African lion of an Illinois zoo died Tuesday -- less than two weeks after the death of her mate, the Chicago Zoological Society said in a statement.
Brookfield zoo staff checked on Isis, the lioness, Monday morning and everything appeared normal, the statement said.
"She was fine, she was moving around," Senior Vice President of Animal Programs Bill Zeigler told CNN affiliate WTTW.
She had been having no medical issues, but when zoo staff checked later in the day Monday she was laying on the floor of the moat, after apparently falling and injuring herself.
"Despite the immediate and intensive treatment provided by the veterinary staff, Isis sustained significant injuries and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize her today," the organization said.
It called Isis' death "sudden."
"Although it is unclear what caused her fall, we are reviewing all aspects of this tragic occurrence," Zeigler said in a statement.
Isis' mate, the zoo's male African lion named Zenda, had been euthanized about two weeks ago, the organization said, because of "age-related issues that impacted his quality of life." He was 13 years old and had been having trouble standing and walking, the zoo said in a tweet earlier this month.
The two had a strong bond, Zeigler said. They had been in the zoo for about 12 years and were often grooming each other and sleeping together.
"The staff, who dedicated their lives to care for these charismatic lions, are heartbroken by their loss," Zeigler said.
Debate features substance, civility among Democrats before Iowa votes
Some key takeaways from Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, the final forum before the Iowa caucuses:
CIVILITY AND SUBSTANCE OVER FIGHTING AND FRICTION
After the United States' killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Democrats were bracing for fights over foreign policy. Instead, a whole lot of substance broke out.
There was a brief skirmish between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who opposed the Iraq War, and former vice president Joe Biden, who apologized for supporting for it. But most of the opening 30-minute discussion — one-quarter of the time set for the debate — focused on the future.
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California businessman Tom Steyer tried to argue that their outside-the-Beltway resumes would be benefits in the Oval Office. "What we are hearing is 20 years of mistakes by the American government in the Middle East," Steyer said. "It's time for someone from the outside having a strategic view on what we're trying to do."
The two liberals, Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, argued the United States needed to pull its troops entirely from the Middle East and Afghanistan. "The American people are sick and tired of endless wars that have cost us trillions of dollars," Sanders said.
Warren said generals keep arguing the United States is "turning the corner" in its fights. "We've turned the corner so many times we're going in circles in these regions," she quipped.
The two voices backing traditional foreign policy were Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who both argued for at least a small military presence remaining in the Middle East.
ABOUT THE FIGHT THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN
The pre-debate chatter was about an expected fight between Sanders and Warren over Warren's assertion that Sanders told her in 2018 that a woman couldn't be elected president. Sanders denied it, Warren didn't press it. Their fight didn't happen, but it did spark a more spirited discussion about gender and power.
Sanders continued to deny he'd ever said it. "Does anyone in their right mind believe a woman can't be elected president?" he asked.
The answer is yes. It's a sentiment often heard among Democratic voters and operatives who are still traumatized by Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss. Warren did not repeat onstage that Sanders made the statement but said, "This question about whether or not a woman can be president needs to be addressed head-on."
Warren said she and Klobuchar, the two women on the stage, were the only ones who had won every election they had run. But there was obvious tension when Sanders tried to correct Warren's statement that she was the only person onstage who'd beaten an incumbent Republican in the past 30 years. He noted he'd ousted a Republican when he won his first congressional election in 1990.
"That was 30 years ago," Warren responded coolly.
RARE OOPS FOR 'A' STUDENT
Klobuchar is an "A" student in the art of the local when she campaigns across Iowa. Dropping names of local political officials, cities, counties, vote totals and local heroes, Klobuchar is a disciplined candidate reminding voters in Iowa she understands them.
Yet, in the middle of an explanation of all the women who won governorships in 2018, she got stuck trying to remember the name of Laura Kelly of Kansas.
"And her name. ... I'm very proud to know her, and her name is governor ... Kelly," Klobuchar said, swallowing the new governor's last name.
She later tried to bounce back with a tongue in cheek. During an exchange about health care, Klobuchar quipped, "The Affordable Care Act is 10 points more popular than the president of the United States."
Ex-ambassador wants probe into reports she was under surveillance
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Tuesday called for an investigation into the "disturbing" notion that she was under surveillance from associates of the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
With the release of texts turned over to House investigators by indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Yovanovitch has once again been ensnared at the heart of the still-widening scandal that has already resulted in the impeachment of President Donald Trump. And once again, the diplomatic community is rallying to support her -- expressing outrage over her treatment.
The texts released by the House Democrats Tuesday show Connecticut Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde berating Yovanovitch and suggest he was monitoring her while she was in Kiev and relaying her movements to Parnas. Hyde declined to comment to CNN when asked if he had surveilled Yovanovitch, who served as a key witness in the House impeachment probe.
"Needless to say, the notion that American citizens and others were monitoring Ambassador Yovanovitch's movements for unknown purposes is disturbing," said Lawrence S. Robbins, Yovanovitch's attorney, in a statement. "We trust that the appropriate authorities will conduct an investigation to determine what happened."
A spokesperson for the Southern District of New York -- where Parnas is indicted -- declined to comment. The State Department did not immediately reply to requests for comment about a potential investigation and the texts.
Three retired ambassadors who know Yovanovitch expressed shock and horror Tuesday at the idea that the longtime diplomat was being surveilled by an American.
"It's horrifying, it's just unbelievable," retired ambassador Jim Melville said in a phone conversation with CNN. "The very idea that there were elements, possibly of the US government or connected to the US government, who were trying to do an end run around everything that we've established to keep our mission safe is just outrageous."
Yovanovitch, who was recalled from her post in Kiev in May 2019 after a smear campaign led by Trump's allies, has been repeatedly maligned by Trump. He told his Ukrainian counterpart in July 2019 that she was "going to go through some things," according to a rough White House transcript of the presidents' conversation -- a message Yovanovitch said she found threatening.
In her public testimony in November 2019, Yovanovitch called on State Department leadership to do more in the face of the attacks on her and her fellow foreign service officers.
Airline makes woman take pregnancy test before flying
A Hong Kong-based airline has apologized after it demanded a passenger take a test to prove she was not pregnant before boarding a flight to the U.S. Pacific island of Saipan.
Low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express came under criticism after a 25-year-old Japanese woman said airline staff required her to take a "fit-to-fly" assessment, which included a pregnancy test, when she was checking in for a flight at Hong Kong International Airport.
"It was very humiliating and frustrating," she told the Wall Street Journal, adding that the airline indicated the test was required for women "observed to have a body size or shape resembling a pregnant woman."
The report said airline staff then escorted her to a washroom and handed her a pregnancy test, barring her from boarding until the test came back negative.
"We would like to apologize for the distress caused," the airline, which was acquired by Cathay Pacific in July last year, said in a statement to CNN.
The statement said the airline was under pressure from authorities in Saipan to step up checks on passengers.
"We took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined," it said.
"Under our new management, we recognize the significant concerns this practice has caused. We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it."
Saipan is part of the U.S. commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. It has emerged as a favorite destination for "birth tourism" -- the practice of foreign nationals giving birth on US soil to ensure their babies become American citizens.
This is largely due to its distinct immigration policy from the U.S. mainland, which allows citizens from some countries, such as China, to visit without a visa, even though they would need one for other parts of America.
In recent years, birth tourism has become so rampant in the commonwealth that more babies are born to tourists than its permanent residents.
For 'Jeopardy' fans, Ken Jennings is the greatest
Being bold paid off for new "Jeopardy!" mega-champion Ken Jennings, while it didn't for his opponents.
Jennings won his third match in the "Jeopardy!" "Greatest of all Time" contest televised on Tuesday, an event that's been a prime-time hit for ABC. He pocketed $1 million by dispatching James Holzhauer, who won one match, and Brad Rutter, who came up empty.
The gamesmanship between the three men considered the most-accomplished and best-known in the show's modern history proved entertaining while containing all the tension of a major sporting match.
Jennings took a strong lead in the first game of Tuesday's match by borrowing a strategy popularized by Holzhauer, twice betting all of his points on a Daily Double and winning. He signaled his intention by imitating the gesture of a poker player pushing all of his chips to the center of the table.
In a "Final Jeopardy" question about Greece, Jennings bet all 32,800 of his points on the clue: "This area of Greece, home to Pan, is synonymous with a rural paradise; it's a setting for Vergil's shepherd poems the 'Ecologues.' He correctly answered, "What is Arcadia?"
Holzhauer was leading in the second game of the match, where the "Final Jeopardy" question asked the competitors to identify the non-title character in a Shakespearean tragedy with the most speeches.
Jennings correctly answered, "Who is Iago?" But he bet none of his points.
That left an opening for Holzhauer to take the match if he bet all of his points and got it right. He bet all of his points, but answered, "Who is Horatio?"
At the end, Hozhauer and Rutter hoisted Jennings on their shoulders in honor. The losers each took home $250,000.
It's hard not to imagine they'll play again sometime, given the show's success. But the night had a tinge of nostalgia and sadness as veteran host Alex Trebek fights pancreatic cancer.
“Jeopardy!” was born as an answer to the game show scandals of the 1950s, when some of the most popular shows of the era were rigged by producers. Inspired by his wife, aspiring game show producer Merv Griffin created a game where you gave contestants the answer—then, they had to give you a question. The show almost didn't make it to air because studio executives complained it was too difficult and that people at home wouldn't want to watch if they didn't know the answer. The show's decades on the air and dozens of awards beg to differ.
That doesn't mean the show is easy; in fact, Griffin refused to dumb it down for viewers. Perhaps that's why when contestants do extremely well, people tend to notice and wonder how they do it. James Holzhauer's astonishing “Jeopardy!” winning streak has brought media attention and a huge ratings bump to the decades-old quiz show. It's also brought new attention to “Jeopardy!” game theory, a subfield in which academics and fans of the show alike try to determine the best way to play this decades-old primetime staple.
It turns out Holzhauer had perfected a strategy first pioneered by contestant Chuck Forrest in 1985. The “Forrest Bounce” involves sticking to high-value clues and looking for Daily Doubles, which allow contestants to quickly rack up more points while confusing their opponents. Many, but not all, of the show's most successful contestants have borrowed the strategy since then.
Using the show's Contestant Hall of Fame, Stacker ranked the 25 biggest “Jeopardy!” winners of all time by their total earnings on the show, including their winnings from various tournaments. These might not reflect the total amount each contestant has won on the show as “Jeopardy!” omitted consolation prize money, money won for charities, and the monetary amount of a car from their calculations. We also looked at where Holzhauer ranks among them as of June 3, 2019, after he finally was defeated.
Read on to see where Holzhauer ranks among the “Jeopardy!” greats. Discover the strategies other contestants used to dominate the leaderboard and find out which contestants were beaten by a supercomputer.
You may also like: Can you answer these Jeopardy questions about politics?
#25. Frank Spangenberg
From: Douglaston, N.Y.
All-time winnings: 249,596
Until 2003, “Jeopardy!” contestants were limited to a five-day run and could only take home up to $75,000. Frank Spangenberg, a police officer in New York City, managed to make the most of his limited time on the show, racking up a total of $102,597. He donated $27,000 from his winnings to the Gift of Love Hospice—the same amount they needed to install a new security system.
#24. Bart Thomas
From: Bridgewater, N.J.
All-time winnings: 250,000
Bart Thomas is one of only a few 20th-century winners on this list. In 2001, clue values were doubled and in 2003, the limit on the number of games contestants could win was removed, making it much easier to rack up huge amounts of cash winnings. Thomas proved victorious in the 1994 Senior Tournament, which featured contestants over 50 and guaranteed a minimum prize of $25,000.
#23. Bruce Seymour
From: Piedmont, Calif.
All-time winnings: 250,000
Bruce Seymour, a lawyer from San Francisco first got his start on the fourth season of “Jeopardy!”, taking home $54,989 on his initial run. However, he's perhaps best known for his victory on the first special tournament run by the show, “Super Jeopardy!” Seymour was victorious in the 13-week, single-elimination tournament and brought home $250,000.
#22. Alex Jacob
From: Greensboro, N.C.
All-time winnings: 250,000
Before coming on “Jeopardy!” Alex Jacob had a successful career as a professional poker player, which might have helped him in his lucrative 2015 run on the show. Building on a strategy pioneered by the 1987 Tournament of Champions winner Chuck Forrest, Jacob bounced around the board looking for Double Jeopardies and either bet big to gain an insurmountable lead or bet small and took the opportunity to catch up to other players. Maintaining his cool, he racked up $146,598 in his original run and also dominated the 2015 Tournament of Champions, where he took home another $250,000.
#21. Seth Wilson
From: Nacogdoches, Texas
All-time winnings: 265,002
Seth Wilson started watching “Jeopardy!” when he was 5, but that wasn't the only preparation he used for his 12-day, $265,002 streak. As a doctorate student studying theater, he was already knowledgeable in history and literature—two common subjects on the show—and he filled in the gaps in his knowledge with online quizzes. He later came back for the 2017 Tournament of Champions and the 2019 All-Star Game but never quite recaptured the magic of his original run.
#20. Alan Lin
From: Riverside, Calif.
All-time winnings: 266,933
California software engineer Alan Lin spent five years attempting to get a place on the show, becoming a huge fan after graduating college. He studied up on history, geography, music, and movies to prepare for his eventual appearance, employing spreadsheets and more. He took home $123,600 from his first run and grabbed another $100,000 as the first runner-up in the 2017 Tournament of Champions.
#19. Arthur Chu
From: Broadview Heights, Ohio
All-time winnings: 297,200
Like TV quiz shows, “Jeopardy!” doesn't normally have villains, but Arthur Chu's 11-game winning streak proved controversial among many of the show's longtime fans. Chu employed the “Forrest bounce” strategy that many other high-scoring contestants employed to search for Daily Doubles. Despite the controversy, Chu was actually just doing what other winners before him had done.
#18. Michael Falk
From: Milwaukee, Wisc.
All-time winnings: 309,403
Michael Falk, a Wisconsin meteorologist, managed to snag around $60,000 in his original three-game run on the show, but it was during the 2006 Tournament of Champions that he made most of his winnings. He made it to the semi-finals as a wild-card contestant but managed to buzz his way to victory—and $250,000. He'd later return to “Jeopardy!” during the Tournament of Decades but quickly exited after facing off against Ken Jennings, one of the show's most successful players.
#17. Russ Schumacher
From: College Station, Texas
All-time winnings: 319,800
Graduate student Russ Schumacher had watched “Jeopardy!” since he was in elementary school before finally appearing on the show in 2003 and 2004 when he won $250,000 in the Tournament of Champions. In the years since his original victories, he's gone on to direct the Colorado Climate Center and even appeared in the 30th Anniversary Battle of the Decades, where he made it to the semi-final round.
#16. Vijay Balse
From: Chatham, N.J.
All-time winnings: 332,400
Vijay Balse auditioned for “Jeopardy!” six times in 16 years, finally landing a spot on what he called “the quiz show to be on” in 2009. Unlike most contestants, he didn't practice buzzing in. Instead, he watched recorded episodes from his DVR and interacted with other fans of the show on message boards and forums to help him prepare for his ultimate appearance. After taking home $84,000 from his four-day winning streak, he won $250,000 in the 2010 Tournament of Champions.
#15. Mark Dawson
From: Woodland Hills, Calif.
All-time winnings: 333,849
“Jeopardy!” champion Mark Dawson almost cut his winning streak short during his original five-game hot streak. He was in last place coming into Final Jeopardy! and decided to wager $0 because he was sure he wouldn't know the answer; none of his competitors did either, so he ended up moving on. Dawson won $52,599 and a Corvette during his first run, making him the last person to win a Corvette on the show.
#14. Austin Rogers
From: Pound Ridge, N.Y.
All-time winnings: 411,000
A New York City bartender won the hearts of “Jeopardy!” viewers over his 12-game winning streak in 2017 thanks to his off-the-cuff humor and willingness to high-five Alex Trebek. Rogers credits his history degree from Macalester College in helping him win over $400,000 during his time on the show. Rogers has since levied his viral stardom from the show into a blossoming media career.
#13. Buzzy Cohen
From: Los Angeles, Calif.
All-time winnings: 416,603
In the same year that Austin Rogers became famous for his “Jeopardy!” run, Buzzy Cohen polarized the show's long-time fans with his charming persona and snazzy suits. Alex Trebek gave Cohen the nickname “Mr. Personality,” but it wasn't the charm gave Cohen his nine-day streak or allowed him to beat out Alan Lin and Austin Rogers in the 2017 Tournament of Champions. Cohen prepared with "Trivial Pursuit" decks and watched Rocky movies to inspire him to victory.
#12. Dan Pawson
From: Boston, Mass.
All-time winnings: 420,902
Dan Pawson dominated during his original run on “Jeopardy!,” winning nine games and $171,902, as well as the 2009 Tournament of Champions. The show runs in the family for Pawson. His daughter was born on the day of his final “Jeopardy!” appearance (the Final Jeopardy category was ironically “Baby Names”), and his wife would win one of the highest totals in a single game when she later appeared on the show.
#11. Ben Ingram
From: Florence, S.C.
All-time winnings: 426,534
Ben Ingram won eight games on his original “Jeopardy!” run, raking in $176,534. Still, his streak wasn't close to that of his competitors in the 2014 Tournament of Champions Julia Collins and Arthur Chu, who had won 20 games and 11 games, respectively. He still managed to beat both of them, even staying ahead for most of the match.
#10. Julia Collins
From: Kenilworth, Ill.
All-time winnings: 428,100
Julia Collins' 20-game winning streak made her the woman who won the most in the show's history. She predicted her “Jeopardy!” dominance in her eighth-grade yearbook, but likely didn't expect to win $428,100 back then. She would later add to her winnings, taking home $50,000 as a second runner-up in the 2014 Tournament of Champions and splitting $50,000 with her teammates in the All-Star Tournament.
#9. Colby Burnett
From: Chicago, Ill.
All-time winnings: 480,334
High school teacher Colby Burnett stands as the only “Jeopardy!” champion in history to win both the Teachers Tournament and the Tournament of Champions, taking home $100,000 and $250,000, respectively. Burnett used the money from his success to buy a condo for his mother, who worked nights to put him through prep school. Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn even named Dec. 18 Colby Burnett Day in honor of his achievements.
#8. Roger Craig
From: Newark, Del.
All-time winnings: 530,200
Until James Holzhauer came along to break his record in 2019, Roger Craig held the record for the most money won in a single “Jeopardy!” game: $77,000. Using his skills as a computer scientist, Craig downloaded over 200,000 clues from the fan-run “Jeopardy!” archive to study up on the most common categories. During the game itself, he bet aggressively on Daily Double clues, often building up massive leads including in the 2010 Tournament of Champions where he was also a winner.
#7. Matt Jackson
From: Washington D.C.
All-time winnings: 611,612
Matt Jackson first grabbed national attention with his smile and celebrations for correct answers, before shocking everyone with his rapid-fire gameplay. He signed up after being inspired by a friend's victory in the college tournament and prepared for competition by reading books by Ken Jennings and Bob Harris about their experiences, which netted him a 13-day winning streak and $411,612 in cash. His mantra for the competition was apparently, “I am not throwing away my shot,” a line from the musical “Hamilton.”
#6. Larissa Kelly
From: Richmond, Calif.
All-time winnings: 660,930
Larissa Kelly was the first woman to win five “Jeopardy!” games in a row and followed both her husband and sister as a contestant on the show. She participated in quiz bowl throughout high school and in college, where she met her husband and fellow “Jeopardy!” super champion David Madden. She'd later return for the Battle of the Decades, where she was eliminated early but redeemed herself in the 2019 All-Star Tournament, where she nabbed the $1 million first prize alongside her teammates.
#5. David Madden
From: Ridgewood, N.J.
All-time winnings: 773,733
David Madden's 2005 19-game winning streak was the second longest in the show's history before it fell to Julia Collins in 2013. Unlike most other winners on this list, Madden dropped out of the Tournament of Champions early, only making it to the semi-finals. He used his $432,400 winnings to hike the length of the U.S. for charity.
All-time winnings: 1,000,000
In 2011, “Jeopardy!” brought two of its biggest winners (Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter) back to face their biggest challenge yet: IBM's supercomputer, Watson. The exhibition pitted the “question answering machine” against Jennings and Rutter over two nights, and the computer blew its competitors out of the water, with Watson winning $77,147 to Rutter's $21,600 and Jennings' $24,000. Watson's victory was evidence that artificial intelligence can reason and think similarly to a human in a complex, high-stakes situation.
#3. James Holzhauer
From: Naperville, Ill.
All-time winnings: 1,867,142
From: Naperville, Ill.
All-time winnings: 2,462,216
James Holzhauer's “Jeopardy!” run has smashed records, many set by previous winners on this list. He beat Roger Craig's highest winnings from a single game, taking home $131,127 in one sitting; in fact, his per game average beats out Craig's single-day record. Holzhauer's strategy of bouncing around the board, sticking to high-value clues, and aggressively betting during Final Jeopardy! has been used by others before him but never to the same effect. He finally lost in an episode aired June 3, 2019, falling short of records for total winnings and longest reign but leaving little doubt he's among the best to ever play television's most popular game.
#2. Ken Jennings
From: Seattle, Wash.
All-time winnings: 3,370,700
Ken Jennings might be one of the show's most familiar faces. He became a household name in 2004, winning 74 games and $2,520,700 over the course of five months. Some believe his streak might be impossible to beat. He lost on a question about H&R Block—a company that now offers him free tax services—but has appeared in several “Jeopardy!” champion tournaments and exhibitions.
#1. Brad Rutter
From: Lancaster, Penn.
All-time winnings: 4,688,436
Only one “Jeopardy!” contestant in the show's storied history can claim to have never lost a game (against a human opponent at least). The highest earning American game show competitor of all time, Brad Rutter dominated in 2000, winning $55,102 back when contestants were limited to five games on the show. Since then he's beaten out Jennings and other “Jeopardy!” masters in the Tournament of Decades, the Ultimate Tournaments of Champions and others, most recently leading his team to victory in the All-Stars Tournament.