Never has a television quiz show divided the internet as much as Jeopardy!. With at least 7,000 episodes having aired since the current daily syndicated incarnation of Jeopardy! began airing in September 1984, Americans have found their hearts (and living rooms) captured by more than a few of the game show's contestants. You love them. You hate them. You're just not totally sure how they know all of this stuff. Last week a new Jeopardy! player took the internet by storm, dividing fans with his wit and demeanor. So, how much money has Jeopardy champ Buzzy Cohen won?
After a nine-day winning streak, Cohen has amassed a total of $164,000 in winnings. But people aren't talking about Cohen because of how much he's won in prize money. I mean, sure, it's an impressive number, but it would be even greater if the 31-year-old music executive found money more rewarding than ribbing Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
While substantially ahead of other contestants, the reigning Jeopardy! champion has twice wagered $0 in the game's Final Jeopardy question. With nothing to lose (or gain) Cohen has opted to infuse a little SNL-style humor into the quiz show rather than attempt to answer the Final Jeopardy question, providing answers like "What is see you tomorrow, Trebek" and "Who is, you aren't rid of me yet, Trebek."
It's exactly this type of behavior that has Jeopardy! fans so divided over Cohen. While some find him funny and sexy, others complain he's smug and arrogant.
Cohen's prize money pales in comparison to some of Jeopardy's! biggest winners. Brad Rutter is the game show's all-time top money winner with over $4 million. In 13 years of playing Jeopardy, Rutter has amassed $4.355 million in winnings and has lost only once, and it was to a computer. Despite his hefty winnings, Rutter doesn't hold the title of longest winning streak. That goes to Ken Jennings, who won a whopping 74 games straight in 2004 to amass more than $3 million in winnings. Another notable Jeopardy contestant is Roger Craig, who holds the title for the highest one-day winnings after banking $77,000 in a single game.
Cohen doesn't appear to mind being hated. "I find that people who hate me are as funny to read about as the people who love me," he told Entertainment Tonight. "This is it. I'm only on Jeopardy! once. I'm only going to get this level of hate once. I'm taking it all in. It's really funny."
So hate away, haters!