After 10 weeks, 40 games and nearly $1.4 million in earnings, Amy Schneider’s “Jeopardy!” reign has finally come to an end.
On Wednesday’s show, the engineering manager from Oakland, California scored second place at $19,600. She was dethroned by Chicago librarian Rhone Talsma, who finished in first place at $29,600 after hitting the Daily Double.
Going into the final round, Schneider maintained a lead of $10,000 over Talsma. Under the category “Countries of the World,” the clue was “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an ‘H,’ it’s also one of the 10 most populous.”
While Talsma correctly answered “Bangladesh,” Schneider did not provide a response, concluding the game and her winning streak.
Reflecting on the game, Schneider said she knew the competition would be stiff going into it.
“I loved hanging out with [Talsma], we had great conversation before the taping, but I could tell that he was here to play and that he was going to be good,” she said. “I still came very close to winning, but I did feel like maybe I was slipping a little bit. And once it was clear that he was fast on the buzzer, I knew it was going to be a battle all the way.”
“I’m still in shock,” Talsma said. “This is my favorite show… I was so excited to be here and I just wanted to do my best. I did not expect to be facing a 40-day champion, and I was excited to maybe see someone else slay the giant. I just really didn’t think it was going to be me, so I’m thrilled.”
Over the course of her 40-game reign, which has been the subject of intense interest from “Jeopardy!” fans and casual viewers alike, Schneider claimed a number of titles.
On Monday’s episode, she broke Matt Amodio’s record for second-most consecutive wins of all time with 39 games (Ken Jennings holds the No. 1 spot with 74 wins). Her total earnings also put her at No. 4 on the all-time list of regular season cash winnings, behind Amodio, James Holzhauer and Jennings.
Schneider has also collected a number of milestones: she is the female contestant with the most consecutive wins, the first female contestant to win more than a million dollars, and the first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, which will take place in the fall.
Last week, Schneider was announced as the recipient of a Special Recognition Award at the upcoming 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which honor media for outstanding representation of LGBTQ people and issues.
“Amy Schneider has given ‘Jeopardy!’s nine million plus nightly viewers a historic 40-game run full of masterful gameplay, while her media interviews and Twitter recaps of each game have given fans a glimpse into her life as a smart, charming transgender woman with a girlfriend and a rescue cat named Meep,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation, in a statement shared with TheWrap.
“Her visibility has been a bright spot, allowing millions of people to root for her success and start conversations about being transgender at a time when proposed bills in states like Arizona, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Amy’s home state Ohio, are targeting transgender Americans for discrimination. Amy’s achievement will be celebrated for years to come by ‘Jeopardy!’ fans and LGBTQ people everywhere.”
“It’s really been an honor,” Schneider said. “To know that I’m one of the most successful people at a game I’ve loved since I was a kid and to know that I’m a part of its history now, I just don’t know how to process it.”