Former Jeopardy champ argues game show needs to bring back win limit

We’ve seen a lot of winning streaks on Peril lately – causing some fans to complain that he needs to shake up his format.

Five-time game show champion Tom Nichols recently told Boston Public Radio that he thinks the solution is to limit those endless hit streaks, which would mean revamping some of the player rules.

Before 2003, Peril the contestants were only allowed to win five consecutive matches before being forced to “retire”. When that rule was lifted, smarties like Ken Jennings – who in 2004 became the biggest consecutive winner in Peril history – began to occupy the place of champion for weeks.

James-Holzhauer; Amy Schneider

Eric McCandless via Getty Images; Jeopardy Productions Recent “Jeopardy” champions James Holzhauer and Amy Schneider

“After about two or three wins, I think you have such an advantage. You used the buzzer, – which is much more important than people think; you’re much more comfortable in the studio; you understand the pace of the game,” Nichols said. “Newcomers don’t really have a chance, and that’s only because returning champions have mastered the mechanics of the game.”

“If you did that for eight, nine, 10 games, there’s a reason they took you out,” he continued. “But the ratings are up, and people want to treat it like a sport and professionalize it. You might as well move the show to Vegas.”

Nichols sees this change at Peril as his downfall, pointing out, “The whole charm of the show was celebrating ordinary Americans showing what they knew. It wasn’t meant to be 38 games of Hulk Crush.”

Since contestant Amy Schneider started winning matches last year, viewership for the game show has skyrocketed. Schneider is only the fourth contestant – and the first woman – to reach the million dollar mark, following Jennings, James Holzhauer in 2019 and Matt Amodio in 2021.

If the show isn’t going to change its rules in a “post-[Alex] Trebek,” maybe he should consider walking away altogether, the former Peril champion proposed in a recent piece for Atlantic.

“Maybe it’s time to retire the game, especially since they’re struggling to find hosts who aren’t annoying,” Nichols wrote. “I’ve seen a few games recently where some of the competitors just didn’t have a chance, even on a fairer playing field. I want everyone to be Peril have a good run, not just say hello to mum and dad and then get run over.”

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