LOS ANGELES - Reigning "Jeopardy" champion Amy Schneider is coming for Ken Jennings' hall-of-fame spot.
She may have a long way to go, but on Monday, Schneider claimed her 39th victory, making her the contestant with the second-most consecutive wins in the game show's history. Only Jennings, who newly took over hosting duties from the late Alex Trebek, has a longer winning streak. Jennings became a household name in 2004 after notching an unprecedented 74 back-to-back triumphs.
In the 39 games she has conquered so far, Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., has collected a casual $1,319,800.
"It still feels unreal," Schneider said in a statement. "Knowing that I had this chance, I was definitely thinking about it. Then Ken said it, and I thought, 'Alright, I just accomplished this huge thing' and it was pretty great."
In taking the No. 2 perch, Schneider dethroned Matt Amodio, who previously occupied second place with 38 wins earlier this season. Schneider's dominance has pushed Amodio, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Yale, to the No. 3 spot. Schneider and Amodio will face off in the next edition of the Tournament of Champions, the annual "Jeopardy" event featuring the season's top 15 players. Game recognizes game, but Schneider doesn't intend to go down without a fight.
In a message to Amodio, Schneider said, "It's going to be an honor playing against you, and it's going to be a tight competition."
Schneider, who frequently documents her post-game thoughts on Twitter, has continued to make "Jeopardy" history. After winning her 10th consecutive game back in November, she became the first out transgender person to make the Tournament of Champions. She later became the first woman and fourth contestant ever to surpass $1 million in earnings.
Compared to Amodio and James Holzhauer, two recent "Jeopardy" phenoms who had a penchant for flashy wagers and aggressive gameplay, Schneider's approach to glory has been understated. That's not to minimize her lighting-fast buzzer reflexes or seemingly infinite knowledge. There's been nary a game since November that she did not have an insurmountable lead going into the Final Jeopardy round.