Brad Rutter and Matt Amodio

Lancaster native and "Jeopardy!" champ Brad Rutter is shown in a photo from ABC's game show "The Chase," and reigning champ Matt Amodio is shown on the "Jeopardy!" set. 

Note: This article was published Aug. 17, 2021. As of the episode broadcast Oct. 8, 2021, Matt Amodio had won 38 consecutive "Jeopardy!" games, with winnings of $1,518,601. Amodio ended his winning streak, coming in third place at the end of the episode broadcast Monday, Oct. 11, but will return for the "Jeopardy!" Tournament of Champions. Amodio is in second place, behind Ken Jennings, in the number of consecutive games won, and in fourth place, behind Brad Rutter, Jennings and James Holzhauer, in total money won.

Reigning "Jeopardy!" champion Matt Amodio recently hit a milestone: He was announced to be the third-highest earner on the show, behind two of the "Greatest of All Time" champs, James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings.

But doesn't Lancaster native Brad Rutter, now a cast member on ABC's game show "The Chase" with Jennings and Holzhauer, still hold the title of the contestant with the highest earnings ever on "Jeopardy!"?

Indeed, he does.

The difference lies in the type of games in which players earned their winnings.

As of Friday, Amodio, an Ohio native and Ph.D. student from New Haven, Connecticut, had earned $574,801 in 18 games in regular-season play — that means during regular "Jeopardy!" games that air Monday through Friday in syndication. That puts him behind only Holzhauer, at $2,462,216, and Jennings at $2,520,700 — also totals figured during their initial appearances on the show.

Rutter, a 1995 Manheim Township High School graduate and Quiz Bowl Team captain, still holds the record for the most money won on "Jeopardy!": $4,938,436. That figure includes money won during his initial appearance in the year 2000, plus various high-stakes tournaments he's played in — and mostly won — over the past 20 years. (Rutter and Jennings even once played against IBM's Watson computer.)

Jennings, who won the "Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time" tournament on ABC in January 2020, is second in those overall standings, with total winnings of $4,370,700. And Holzhauer's total from regular games and tournaments,  $2,962,216, puts him in third place.

Top players' stats are posted on "Jeopardy's!" Hall of Fame page.

When Rutter made his initial appearance, the "Jeopardy!" rules limited players to only five regular-season games. Jennings and Holzhauer were able to play until they were eliminated: Jennings racking up a 74-game winning streak in 2004, and Holzhauer winning 32 games in 2019.

Amodio has won 18 games. He'll have control of the board when "Jeopardy!" returns Monday, Sept. 13, for its 38th season. The show will also return with a new host, Mike Richards, a show producer who replaces longtime host, Alex Trebek, who died in November after a long battle with cancer.

Richards got the job last week after several people from the news, sports and entertainment realm took turns as guest hosts. One of those hosts, "Big Bang Theory" actress Mayim Bialik — who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience — will host "Jeopardy!" specials outside the regular syndicated shows, it was also announced last week.

On this second season of "The Chase," Rutter, Holzhauer, Jennings and British player Mark Labbett take turns answering questions in an attempt to keep a team of three contestants from winning large amounts of money. The show airs on ABC on Sunday nights at 9 p.m.

Rutter is also a writer, director and producer based in Los Angeles. He returns to Lancaster County a few times a year — sometimes to participate in charity events to raise money for local libraries, and to visit family he still has in the area.

In May 2020, Rutter appeared as a "lifeline" for "Schitt's Creek" actress Catherine O'Hara on a celebrity edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which raised money for charities.

From Monday, Aug. 16, to Friday, Aug. 27, "Jeopardy!" is running a series of Trebek's favorite episodes that deal with world cultures, billed as "Around the World With Alex." Details on the shows being run can be found on the "Jeopardy!" website,

"Jeopardy!" airs at 7 p.m. on WPVI, Philadelphia channel 6, and at 7:30 on WHP, CBS 21, Harrisburg. Check your local television provider for channel listings.

What to Read Next