James Holzhauer’s Dominance Has Made ‘Jeopardy!’ A Bigger Ratings Hit Than ‘Game Of Thrones’


James Holzhauer’s domination on Jeopardy! may have ruined the show in the minds of some and his strategy might change the way the game is played forever, but one thing it’s certainly done is made the show significantly more popular in recent weeks.

The 22-day run of the pro sports bettor from Las Vegas is currently on hiatus while the two-week Teacher’s Tournament wraps up on Friday, but that hasn’t slowed the momentum Holzhauer’s impressive run on the trivia show has given it in the eyes of the internet and, apparently, TV viewers.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jeopardy! has seen its highest ratings in 14 years during Holzhauer’s time on the show. According to the report, Jeopardy! drew an 8.3 mark the week of April 29, the highest rating for the syndicated show since March 2005.

Perhaps the most important angle to consider is that the 13.28 million viewers the show averaged made it the most popular primetime show on TV according to Nielson. Yes, even bigger than Game of Thrones.

Jeopardy averaged 13.28 million daily viewers for the week. That was better than the same-day audiences for every Nielsen-rated show in primetime, including CBS’ broadcast leader The Big Bang Theory (12.49 million viewers) and the initial tune-in for HBO’s Game of Thrones (11.8 million, not including streaming).

Jeopardy’s ratings have climbed steadily during Holzhauer’s streak. In his first full week of shows (April 8-12), the show averaged 10.09 million viewers. It grew to 10.67 million the week of April 15, then 11.97 million and 13.28 million — a gain of almost 32 percent over those four weeks. Household ratings have gone up by nearly 30 percent (6.4 to 8.3) in the same time frame.

There are a lot of things to consider here, the first of which being a syndicated show available on broadcast TV has a much higher potential audience than a show sequestered on premium cable. There’s also the significant audience that watches Game of Thrones in a streaming capacity, whether on HBO’s various apps or through Amazon or Hulu. Thrones itself is seeing record ratings as it reaches its end, so it’s not like the show is struggling, either. Everyone, it seems, is eating these days.

Perhaps the bigger surprise is that it’s beating a show like The Big Bang Theory, a wildly popular sitcom on network TV that is its own ratings behemoth. But it’s clear that Holzhauer’s time on Jeopardy! has been fruitful for the show, and Holzhauer himself knows the ratings make whatever he takes home in winnings more than worth the hit to the prize fund.