While Cris Pannullo has bid the Jeopardy! stage goodbye for now, he earned his spot as the sixth longest streak holder in Jeopardy! history. However, since four of the top six streak holders have competed nearly back-to-back over the last two seasons, some fans are growing tired of seeing the same faces dominate for weeks on end. In fact, a few have called for a controversial rule to be reinstated.
Fans Call For ‘Jeopardy!’ Win-Streak Limit
Now that Cris Pannullo has set his 21-game win record, some fans are finally saying enough is enough. Pannullo is one of many Jeopardy! Super Champions to climb the ranks of the all-time leaderboard just in the last year. The New Jersey native was just two games shy of Mattea Roach’s 23-game win streak, a record that she set just last May.
Now, fans are calling for a major change to the Jeopardy! rulebook. Some are suggesting that the show cap players’ wins before they get excessive. Interestingly, this is a practice that the show stood by for nearly 40 years. Up until 2003, Jeopardy! winners were forced to retire after just five games. Just one year after the rule was lifted, Ken Jennings went on his legendary win streak.
While these win streaks have certainly brought an element of excitement, some fans say it also makes the games less interesting. According to one Twitter user, “It’s like running Secretariat in a claiming race.”
A Former Champion Advocates For Win-Limit
However, it isn’t just fans who have aired their complaints. A former champion recently advocated for the show to reinstate its win limit. “After about two or three wins, I think you’ve got such an advantage. You’ve been using the buzzer—which is much more important than people realize; you’re a lot more comfortable in the studio; you understand the rhythm of the game,” five-game winner Tom Nichols told Boston Public Radio.
According to Nichols, it isn’t just their trivia knowledge that gives these longtime winners an edge. “If you’ve done that for eight, nine, ten games, there’s a reason they used to retire you,” Nichols 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.”
It’s an interesting concept. Nichols is right—Jeopardy! isn’t having any trouble pulling in viewers lately. However, there is something to be said about the ethics of allowing such long winning streaks. It has to be disappointing to reach the end of the tedious Jeopardy! audition process just to find out you’re up against someone with a 15-game win streak. Even so, we don’t see Jeopardy! making any big changes like this any time soon.