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Holzhauer is Making a Huge Dent in the Jeopardy Winner’s Fund

Written by:
Jordan Bach
Published on:
May/24/2019

We take for granted the money that is won on game shows without realizing their funding is limited.


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James Holzhauer's eye-popping one-day record winnings has some media outlets digging deeper into how shows like Jeopardy can keep this up.

The Atlantic has a piece entitled "‘Jeopardy’ Wasn’t Designed for a Contestant Like James Holzhauer", which sort  of makes it seem as if Holzhauer isn't good enough to be on Jeopardy.  It's the opposite.

InsideHook writes:

Before Holzhauer, the most money earned in a single episode of Jeopardy was $77,000; but in the time he’s been on the stage, he’s beaten that total not once, but five times, and has set a new record of $131,127. In short, it’s safe to say Holzhauer is making a huge dent in the Jeopardy winner’s fund.

“Every game show has a prize budget,” former head of programming at Game Show Network, Bob Boden, said. “Typically, for a long-running show the prize budget is determined by way of averages of what has been won in the past. James’s performance, I’m sure, is causing grief for an accountant somewhere.”

Some shows purchase insurance policies.

Holzhauer is driving huge ratings and that would typically mean increased advertising revenue.

Sadly, that's not the case.  Ad deals were locked in long before Holzhauer came on the show.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

In the week of April 29, the show notched a peak 8.3 rating — its highest since March 2005 — and averaged 13.28 million daily viewers for the week. (By comparison, Game of Thrones' final season premiere drew 11.8 million live viewers, though that number shot up significantly with delayed viewing.)

Those profits come from licensing fees from stations; ad sales; and, believe it or not, Jeopardy! slot machines, which produce up to $25 million in revenue annually, according to one source familiar with the revenue breakdown.

- Jordan Bach, Gambling911.com

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