‘Jeopardy! Masters’ Season 2 premiere: Amy Schneider faces uphill climb

Credit: Sean Black

Credit: Sean Black

Season 2 of “Jeopardy! Masters” premiered Wednesday with Dayton native Amy Schneider trailing the pack in sixth place.

The winner of the 2022 Tournament of Champions is among the super champs vying for trivia glory: reigning “Masters” winner James Holzhauer; Season 1 “Masters” finalists Matt Amodio and Mattea Roach; 2024 Tournament of Champions winner Yogesh Raut; and 2024 Invitational Tournament winner Victoria Groce. Schneider, the runner-up in the Invitational Tournament, was specifically chosen as a Producers Pick.

Over the course of three weeks, nine one-hour episodes will feature two games among different combinations of the contestants, resulting in a champion who will win a $500,000 grand prize and the “Jeopardy! Masters” title.

Schneider, a writer from Oakland, California, was featured in Game 2 opposite Holzhauer, a self-described “Final Boss” of “Jeopardy!” from Las Vegas, and Raut, a cognitive and behavioral scientist from Vancouver, Washington.

Raut ran away with the game from the outset, greatly benefitting from a crucial, true Daily Double incorrect response from Holzhauer early in the Jeopardy! round. At the end of the round, Raut led with 7,800 points followed by Schneider with 3,400 and Holzhauer with 3,000.

During Double Jeopardy! Schneider, having increased difficulty with her buzzer/timing, was unable to find any Daily Doubles, allowing her competitors to steal any momentum she hoped to gain. Raut finished the round with 26,395 points followed by Holzhauer with 10,200 and Schneider with 7,000.

The Final Jeopardy! clue in the category of World Heritage Sites:

“This entire capital is a world heritage site ‘linked to the history of the military and charitable order of St. John of Jerusalem.’”

Everyone correctly responded Valletta, the capital of Malta. Schneider didn’t wager, a startling and potentially game-deflating decision, leaving with her 7,000. Holzhauer wagered 3,010, resulting in 13,210, and Raut also opted not to wager, leaving him with 26,395.

During the interview segment, Schneider told host Ken Jennings she is excited to return to “Jeopardy!” having participated in the Invitational tournament. She also addressed being involved in the Masters tournament as a Producers Pick, a move that prompted backlash from some fans.

“I came into the ‘Jeopardy!’ Invitational tournament not even thinking about Masters because I just came away disappointed with myself last year at Masters and I was just there to get my confidence back,” Schneider said. “But then I didn’t win and I didn’t qualify to get into this. I do think I belong here and I’m grateful for the opportunity and excited to be here. But it also feels like it gives me a little bit something more to prove. I didn’t earn my way back in the same way the other contestants did. I’m looking forward to it.”

The leaderboard at the end of the first episode: First: Groce (3); Second: Raut (3); Third: Holzhauer (1); Fourth: Roach (1); Fifth: Amodio (0); and Sixth: Schneider (0). The ranking takes into account the number of correct responses.

“Jeopardy! Masters” returns Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC. The show also streams on Hulu.

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