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Ken Jennings admits one thing bugs him about James Holzhauer’s winning ‘Jeopardy!’ streak

The idea of going head-to-head with Holzhauer has Jennings asking: “Can I have my 2004 brain back if I play this guy?”

Ken Jennings, of Salt Lake City, Utah, shown here in this 2004 publicity photo on the syndicated quiz show “Jeopardy!”
AP Photo/Sony-Jeopardy

Ken Jennings might be “really excited” for current “Jeopardy!” champ James Holzhauer, now within $325,143 of the former star’s cash record set in 2004. But as he told journalist Amy Robach on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, there is one thing that bothers him about the professional sports better who has blazed quite a trail on the game show.

Holzhauer’s 28-day winnings totaled $2,195,557, after Monday’s show aired. Jennings racked up $2,520,700 during his 74-game winning streak.

“You know what bothers me is when I hear people say, ‘Jeopardy!’ James,” said Jennings. “I’m like, ‘No, no, no, no I’m that guy. You can’t put ‘Jeopardy!’ in front of his name.

“I used to be the ‘Jeopardy!’ guy!” he added with a smile.

Still, Jennings can’t help but feel the buzz around Holzhauer’s streak.

“For 15 years, I have thought somebody was gonna make a run at this record, ‘cause I always knew it could be done. I was there,” Jennings said. ”I know it’s been possible.

“What I did not expect, was that somebody could make a run at the cash record, in like a third (of) the time,” he continued. “It’s really just astounding, what he’s doing.”

While Jennings described his approach as “more relaxed” and “conservative,” he applauded Holzhauer for his radical approach. “This is a guy who wants to maximize winnings every time he’s got the chance,” said Jennings. “That’s what he does for a living. He’s a gambler, and he’s very comfortable with that. He’s playing his game perfectly.”

The idea of going head-to-head with Holzhauer had Jennings asking: “Can I have my 2004 brain back if I play this guy?

“I think I could hold my own against him, even today, but I would need some breaks,” he said. ”It would be all about who found the Daily Doubles, and usually on ‘Jeopardy!’ I don’t need a lot of breaks.”

Holzhauer broke the $2 million mark Friday. A video acknowledging the accomplishment shared to the official Twitter account for “Jeopardy” compared statistics for the champs.

Among the numbers, Jennings’ response accuracy rate at 91 percent falls to Holzhauer’s at 97 percent. Jennings’ 27-game winnings stacked up to $868,960, while Holzhauer’s reached $2,065,535.