List of Jeopardy! tournaments and events
Jeopardy! is an American television quiz show created by Merv Griffin, in which contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers and must phrase their responses in the form of questions. Over the years, the show has featured many tournaments and special events.
Regular tournaments and events
Tournament of Champions
Jeopardy! has conducted a regular tournament called the "Tournament of Champions", featuring the most successful champions and other big winners who have appeared on the show since the last tournament. It was held every year during Art Fleming's hosting run and has been held roughly once a year, with some exceptions, since 1984.
The current series’ Tournament of Champions lasts two weeks over ten episodes in a format devised by Trebek himself in 1985. The field consists of fifteen former champions, with automatic bids given to winners of any College Championships or Teachers Tournaments held since the previous Tournament of Champions. Since the 2004 tournament, the rest of the field has been set depending on how many games a champion was able to win during their reign, with a contestant needing to win at least three wins (up to shows taped on October 29, 2020, the last tape day with Alex Trebek hosting; Sony ended the Tournament of Champions cycle after Trebek's death ten days later), or four wins (effective with the new cycle that began with shows taped November 30, 2020, when production resumed with Ken Jennings as the first interim host) to be considered. Total winnings are also used if there are multiple champions with the same amount of victories. The qualifying rules were changed after the show allowed contestants to continue playing until they were defeated during the twentieth season; prior to that, a champion could only win a maximum of five games but doing so automatically earned a champion a spot in the Tournament of Champions.
The first week consists of five quarterfinal matches featuring three different champions each day. The winners of those five games, plus the four highest-scoring non-winners in the tournament (known as wild cards), advance to the semifinals, where the three winners of the three semifinal matches advance to the finals and compete for the championship in a two-game final.
The top prize for the Tournament of Champions on the current series was initially $100,000. Beginning with the 2003 Tournament of Champions, which was the first held after the clue values were doubled in 2001, the prize was increased to $250,000. After the initial tournament, where they were guaranteed to receive their cumulative total in cash, each runner up has been guaranteed a minimum dollar amount depending on their placing. The current figures were established in 2006, with the first runner-up receiving a minimum of $100,000 and the second a minimum of $50,000.
On the Fleming-era tournaments, all players kept their scores in cash at the end of each game, and in addition to their game winnings, the Grand Champions also won a tropical vacation and were presented with a trophy called the Griffin Award, named for Merv Griffin.
Other regular tournaments
The Jeopardy! Teen Tournament, which began in 1987, is an annual tournament in which 15 high school students between the ages of 13 and 17 compete in a ten-episode tournament structured similarly to the Tournament of Champions. The tournament originally awarded $25,000 to the winning contestant; today, the winner receives $100,000.
Originally the winner of the Teen Tournament was awarded one of the automatic qualifying spots in the Tournament of Champions that followed their victory. Jeopardy! discontinued this practice after the 2000 Tournament of Champions, with 1999 champion Chacko George being the final Teen Tournament winner to receive the berth; however, each subsequent Teen Tournament winner from 2000 through 2005 was invited to compete in 2005’s Ultimate Tournament of Champions.
Additionally, Teen Tournament winners have also received merchandise at various points: the winners of the 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2003 Teen Tournaments were awarded new cars, and the 2005 Teen Tournament winner received a computer package. At least one similar tournament was held in May 1967 during Fleming's run, with the winner (out of nine high school seniors who competed) receiving a $10,000 scholarship. The tournament was not held in Seasons 36 or 37 because of pandemic-related restrictions, and is not currently planned for Season 38 because of the hosting situation, as Jeopardy! is still using interim hosts.
Since 1989, Jeopardy! has held an annual College Championship. Fifteen full-time undergraduate students with no previous degrees, hailing from colleges and universities throughout the United States, compete in a ten-game format like that used for the Tournament of Champions and the Teen Tournament. Like the Teen Tournament, the College Championship initially guaranteed the winner a minimum of $25,000; this figure was later doubled to $50,000 and later doubled again to the current $100,000 prize. The winner of the College Championship also automatically qualifies for the next Tournament of Champions.
Tom Cubbage, an undergrad at Southern Methodist University and winner of the 1989 College Tournament, won the following Tournament of Champions in 1989; he was the first accomplish this feat and is the only one to do so after first winning the College Championship.
In May 2011, to mark its 6,000th Trebek-era episode, Jeopardy! introduced its Teachers Tournament featuring 15 full-time teachers of students in kindergarten through grade 12. The tournament is similar in format to other tournaments, with the winner receiving a guaranteed minimum of $100,000 and an invitation to participate in the Tournament of Champions.
From 1987 to 1995, Jeopardy! featured a Seniors Tournament, featuring 15 contestants all over the age of 50. The format of the tournament was structured similarly to the Tournament of Champions, with a top prize of at least $25,000. The tournament winner also received an automatic spot in the Tournament of Champions. Since the tournament's discontinuance, contestants over the age of 50 have regularly appeared on Jeopardy! in non-tournament games.
Celebrity Jeopardy!, whose inaugural episode aired on October 26, 1992, features notable individuals as contestants competing for charitable organizations of their choice (or, in the cases of public officials, relevant charities chosen by the Jeopardy! production staff). The tradition of special Jeopardy! matches featuring celebrity contestants goes back to the original NBC series, which featured appearances by such notables as Rod Serling, Bill Cullen, Art James, and Peter Marshall. On the Trebek version, Celebrity Jeopardy! traditionally had been broadcast annually as a weeklong event in the 1990s before becoming increasingly sparse and irregular in the 2000s and 2010s. On occasion there has been a special version of this event, Power Players Week, featuring personalities in politics and journalism. Unlike the regular games in which a player finishing the Double Jeopardy! round with a zero or negative score is disqualified from playing the Final Jeopardy! round, Celebrity Jeopardy! instead grants players a nominal score of $1,000 with which to wager for the final round. Since its debut, Celebrity Jeopardy! has featured over 200 celebrity contestants. The last two celebrity tournaments were held in 2010 and in May 2015. The last "Power Players Week" was held in DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. in May 2016. Celebrity Jeopardy! has repeatedly been parodied in a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live, with Will Ferrell acting as Alex Trebek (with the real Alex Trebek making an appearance in one sketch). Comic foils to Alex Trebek (Ferrell) included Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery.
When season 16 began in September 1999, the show inaugurated Kids Week, a week of five special non-tournament games featuring children aged 10 to 12. Three new contestants compete each day. The winners of each game keep whatever they win, with minimum guarantees of $15,000. The second- and third-place contestants receive consolation prizes of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. The first four times the event was held, the player who had the highest winning score during the week was also awarded a bonus of $5,000. The last Kids Week episodes aired in 2014.
Two Jeopardy! events have been scheduled outside the show's usual syndication run, both on ABC: the first aired in 1990 and the second in 2020. ABC Owned Television Stations group has been the lead broadcaster of the syndicated version for most of its run. In 2021, Jeopardy! announced further prime time specials would be produced, including a National College Championship, with Mayim Bialik as host.
Super Jeopardy! was a special summer series that premiered on June 16, 1990 on ABC. It was the first attempt during Alex Trebek's hosting run to gather the series' best contestants up to that date.
A total of thirty-six contestants competed in Super Jeopardy!. Thirty-five of them were some of the biggest winners that had competed in the first six years of the syndicated Jeopardy! series that had aired to that point. The other spot was reserved for Burns Cameron, who had appeared on the original daytime series in 1965 and won a total of $11,110 in regular and tournament play to set that series' all-time record.
Super Jeopardy! featured four contestants per episode in the quarterfinal games, while subsequent rounds were played with the usual three players. Each game was played for points instead of money, and the clue values were adjusted accordingly; correct answers were worth 200-1000 points in the Jeopardy! round and 500–2500 points in Double Jeopardy!; this was the only time in the show's history that the second round values were not double those of the first round.
Any contestant that was eliminated in the quarterfinal round won $5,000 and the contestants eliminated in the semifinal round won $10,000.
The finals of the tournament aired on September 8, 1990, and pitted 1987 Tournament of Champions winner Bob Verini and finalist Dave Traini against 1988 Tournament of Champions quarterfinalist and four-day champion Bruce Seymour in a one-day final match where the winner received $250,000. Traini finished in negative territory and could not play Final Jeopardy!, which meant he automatically finished third and won $25,000. Seymour, leading entering Final Jeopardy!, correctly answered the final clue and won the top prize. Verini, who did not answer correctly, finished second and won $50,000.
The Greatest of All Time
Announced on November 18, 2019 and aired beginning January 7, 2020, the tournament featured contestants Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer competing in a tournament with a top prize of $1 million. The tournament was structured as first-to-three-wins format over a series of one-hour episodes, with each episode a stand-alone match consisting of two back-to-back complete Jeopardy! games, using points instead of dollars. Ken Jennings won the tournament in four matches, with James Holzhauer winning one match and Brad Rutter winning none. As the tournament winner, Jennings was named "The Greatest of All Time" and won $1 million. The two non-winners received $250,000 each.
Other all-time best tournaments
10th Anniversary Tournament
From November 29, 1993 to December 3, 1993, Jeopardy! held a special one-week 10th Anniversary Tournament to honor the Trebek version's tenth anniversary, which featured one Tournament of Champions-qualified contestant from each of the nine completed seasons to that point. Eight contestants were drawn at random and were revealed over the course of four episodes. After Tom Nosek won the 1993 Tournament of Champions, he received the ninth position. 
Contestants competed for a winner's prize of a combined two-day final score total plus a $25,000 bonus. The event resembled the show's regular tournaments sans a quarterfinal round, with three semifinal matches to determine three finalists, who then competed against each other in a two-game total point match. Eliminated semifinalists received consolation prizes of $5,000, while the second runner-up received a guaranteed minimum of $7,500, the first runner-up received a guaranteed minimum of $10,000, and the winner earned his or her two-game total plus a $25,000 bonus. Frank Spangenberg won the tournament with a two-game score of $16,800 plus a $25,000 bonus for a total of $41,800. Tom Nosek finished second with $13,600, while Leslie Frates won the $7,500 guaranteed third place prize, which exceeded her score of $4,499.
Million Dollar Masters
In May 2002, to commemorate the Trebek version's 4,000th episode, Jeopardy! invited fifteen former champions to participate in a special tournament called the Million Dollar Masters, with a guaranteed seven-figure payday for the winner. The tournament was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and featured the same two-week, three-round format as the traditional tournaments on Jeopardy! The event's first round ran from May 1 to May 7, and the three semifinal matches aired from May 8–10. The three finalists were Eric Newhouse, who won the 1989 Teen Tournament and the special 1998 Teen Reunion Tournament; Brad Rutter, a five-time champion from 2000 who won the Tournament of Champions held earlier in the 2001-02 season; and Bob Verini, the winner of the 1987 Tournament of Champions and the runner-up in the 1990 Super Jeopardy! tournament. The tournament ended with Rutter winning the $1,000,000 grand prize, Newhouse coming in second and winning $100,000, and Verini placing third and winning $50,000.
Ultimate Tournament of Champions
The Ultimate Tournament of Champions, a special 15-week single-elimination tournament involving a total of 145 contestants, began airing on February 9, 2005 and concluded on May 25, 2005, covering 76 shows in total. Ken Jennings, who had just completed his record-setting run as champion three months before the tournament started, was invited to compete in the tournament; he was automatically awarded a spot in the final match. The other 144 spots in the tournament were given to past five-time champions and past winners of the Tournament of Champions, College Championship, and Teen Tournament, including those who had won in the current season to that point. The overall winner of the tournament would receive a cash prize of $2 million, with the first runner-up receiving an additional $500,000 and the second an additional $250,000.
The preliminary rounds featured 135 of the 144 contestants competing to advance to the quarterfinals. The remaining nine contestants received byes into the quarterfinals.
Chuck Forrest, the 1986 Tournament of Champions winner and setter of several show records during his original run as champion, was given one of the nine automatic quarterfinal spots. Three other byes were given to the finalists from the Million Dollar Masters tournament held during the 2002-2003 season, with Bob Verini, Eric Newhouse, and Brad Rutter receiving the honors. Of the five remaining spots, one was given to the first champion to win more than five games (Sean Ryan, six), while another one was given to the champion who recorded the longest winning streak prior to Jennings’ reign (Tom Walsh, seven wins). Of the three remaining byes, they were given out based on total winnings. Frank Spangenberg earned his bye due in part to his being the first contestant to surpass $100,000 in earnings in regular play, while Brian Weikle earned his bye for being the highest-earning champion in regular play prior to the removal of the five-day limit. The last bye was given to Robin Carroll, who became the highest-winning female champion in show history to that date following victories in her Tournament of Champions as well as a subsequent International Tournament of Champions; she held the show’s overall winnings mark as well until Rutter won the Million Dollar Masters in 2002.
Each match was conducted as a single game affair until the tournament reached the semifinal round. The six remaining contestants competed in two two-game, cumulative score contests to determine who would face Jennings in the finals. The first semifinal was won by 1992 Tournament of Champions finalist Jerome Vered, who defeated Frank Spangenberg and 2000 College Champion Pam Mueller. Brad Rutter won the other semifinal over 1993 champion John Cuthbertson and 2004 champion Chris Miller.
Rutter, Vered, and Jennings then competed in a three-game cumulative score final match for the top prize. Rutter, who had the highest total in all three of the games, finished with $62,000 and won the $2,000,000 prize. Jennings finished second with $34,599 and collected $500,000, while 1992 Tournament of Champions finalist Jerome Vered finished third with $20,600, and took home $250,000. All in all, the tournament's contestants won a combined grand total of $5,604,413.
Battle of the Decades
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Trebek version, Jeopardy! held a special Battle of the Decades Tournament in 2014 featuring 45 contestants who had all competed in past Tournaments of Champions. The field of contestants were divided into decades of Jeopardy! (1984–93, 1994–2003, and 2004–13), and competed against players who participated in the same decade. Five matches for each decade were played in the standard one-match win format (fifteen in total). The winners of those matches went on to compete in a standard Jeopardy! tournament format for a grand prize of $1,000,000. One tournament contestant per decade was chosen by fans who voted online via the Jeopardy! website or through social media. Rutter, Jennings, and 2011 Tournament of Champions winner Roger Craig advanced to the finals, with Rutter winning the tournament and $1,000,000 grand prize. Jennings came in second, taking home $100,000, and Craig came in third, winning $50,000.
The Jeopardy! All-Star Games conducted in 2019 feature a team format in which eighteen champions are split up into six groups of three. The six teams are captained by Jennings, Rutter, Colby Burnett, Buzzy Cohen, Austin Rogers and Julia Collins, who each drafted two players from a pool that included Leonard Cooper, Roger Craig, Jennifer Giles, Ben Ingram, Matt Jackson, Alex Jacob, Larissa Kelly, Alan Lin, David Madden, Pam Mueller, Monica Thieu, and Seth Wilson. The draft was streamed live over Facebook on September 22, 2018, with the games themselves airing from February 20 to March 5, 2019. A concurrent fantasy sweepstakes awarded a prize to a home viewer who selected the highest-grossing three individual contestants in the tournament. Team Colby consisted of Burnett, Mueller and Lin, Team Buzzy consisted of Cohen, Jacob, and Giles, Team Julia consisted of Collins, Ingram, and Wilson, Team Ken consisted of Jennings, Jackson, and Thieu; Team Austin consisted of Rogers, Craig, and Cooper, and Team Brad consisted of Rutter, Kelly, and Madden. Each match was played as a relay; one player on each team played a different round of the game, with the winning trio splitting a $1,000,000 prize. Rutter's team won the contest, with Jennings's team finishing second and splitting $300,000; Burnett's team (the wild card entry) came in third, splitting $100,000.
A special one-week Teen Reunion Tournament held in November 1998 invited back 12 former Teen Tournament contestants from that event's first three installments (1987-1989) to compete in a single-elimination tournament. The three highest-scoring winners of the four semifinal matches competed in a one-game final where the champion received $50,000; the second and third-place players received $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. The semifinal winner who did not participate in the finals received $7,500, and the other contestants each received $5,000. The tournament was won by Eric Newhouse, who had previously won the 1989 Teen Tournament.
The Jeopardy! Kids Week Reunion brought back 15 Kids Week alumni from the 1999 and 2000 Kids Week games to compete for a minimum $25,000 each game. The special week of programming was taped on August 12, 2008 and was broadcast from September 15, 2008 to September 19, 2008.
The Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational began on September 17, 2009, and subsequent games aired on the third Thursday of every month from September 2009 to April 2010, with an additional quarter-final on the third Friday of April 2010. The semi-final and final rounds aired during the first full week of May 2010. A total of 27 celebrities—three per game for the nine semifinal episodes—competed for a grand prize of $1,000,000 for their charity. The winners of each qualifying game returned in May 2010 for three semi-final games, sans Andy Richter due to scheduling conflicts, and he was replaced by the highest scoring quarterfinal runner-up, Isaac Mizrahi. The semi-final winners competed in a two-day total point final to determine the grand champion in a format similar to other annual Jeopardy! tournaments. The winner of each qualifying game won a minimum of $50,000 for their charity (more if their post-Final Jeopardy! score exceeded $50,000), and the two runners-up each received $25,000 for their charities. Jane Curtin, Michael McKean, and Cheech Marin advanced to the two-game final, and McKean won the tournament, earning $1 million for his charity, the International Myeloma Foundation.
A special three day exhibition match, Jeopardy!'s IBM Challenge, aired February 14–16, 2011 and featured IBM's Watson computer facing off against Jennings and Rutter in two games, played over three shows. This was the first man-vs.-machine competition in Jeopardy!'s history. Watson locked up the first game and the match to win the grand prize of $1 million, which IBM divided between two charities (World Vision International and World Community Grid). Jennings, who won $300,000 for second place, and Rutter, who won the $200,000 third-place prize, both pledged to donate half of their total winnings to their respective charities. The competition brought the show its highest ratings since the Ultimate Tournament of Champions.
One-week tournaments featuring champions from each of the international versions of Jeopardy! were held in 1996, 1997, and 2001. Each of the countries that aired their own version of the show in those years could nominate a contestant. The format was identical to the semifinals and finals of the Tournament of Champions, save for the inaugural 1996 tournament, which had a one-day final game unlike usual (Ulf Jensen from Sweden won the inaugural tournament). On the first two tournaments, the winner was awarded $25,000, while the first and second runners-up received $10,000 and $7,500 respectively, with semifinalists receiving $5,000. For the 2001 tournament, the winner's prize (won by American Robin Carroll) was doubled to $50,000, while the two runners-up received $15,000 and $10,000, but the semifinalists continued to receive $5,000.
The 1997 International Tournament, held in Stockholm, is significant for being the first week of Jeopardy! episodes to be taped in a foreign country. Mälte Andreasson, the Swedish version's announcer at that time, from the Magnus Härenstam era, was the announcer during the tournament instead of Johnny Gilbert. The 1997 contest also featured a contestant from Canada—Michael Daunt, who had previously competed on the American version, and who himself would go on to win the championship. Since Canada did not have its own version of Jeopardy! at the time (instead simulcasting the American version), the 1997 tournament was the only one to feature two contestants from the American show.
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Alex put together the 2-week, 15-contestant format used on the current show. We had 15 undefeated five-time champions the first season. In subsequent seasons we never had as many as 15 five-game winners so we added those four-game winners with the highest scores until we had the requisite 15 contestants for the Tournament.
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Each day of shows features three contestants. The winner of each show keeps the money he or she wins, with a minimum guarantee of $5,000. The other two contestants receive two computers and software. As an added bonus, the person with the highest earnings at the end of the week gets an additional $5,000.
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- Early on during the Tournament, host Alex Trebek announced in error that the winner's purse included a $10,000 bonus, not a $25,000 bonus.
- Richmond, Ray (2004). This is Jeopardy!: Celebrating America's Favorite Quiz Show. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. p. 200. ISBN 0-7607-5374-1.
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Brad Rutter of Lancaster, Penn., earned a total of $1,155,102 after winning a Million Dollar Masters Tournament.
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- As no runner-up accumulated a score in excess of $25,000, there is no definitive information on whether that amount was also a minimum guarantee or a flat award.
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[For Season 13, new producer Harry Friedman's] first order of business: travel to Sweden for Jeopardy!'s first-ever tapings in a foreign country. ... The international tournament is shot on the set of the Jeopardy! version in Stockholm, complete with ring-in apparatus that find contestants banging on plungers rather than ringing buzzers. Michael Daunt of Canada wins the international championship.