“Playing ‘Jeopardy!’ has been the most fun I’ve ever had, and I didn’t want it to end,” she said. “I knew it would sometime, but it was tough to realize that the moment was finally there.”
An engineering manager who lives in Oakland, Calif., Schneider, 42, has known the outcome of her run for more than two months. During that time, she rode the wave of a newly minted game-show celebrity, watching as the world was introduced to her prodigious intellect and, gradually, people started recognizing her on the street.
She freely shared insights into her life (she has a girlfriend named Genevieve and a cat named Meep), stories about her childhood (in eighth grade she was voted most likely to compete on “Jeopardy!”) and shared her secret to success (a lifetime of curiosity). As a transgender woman, she was forced to deal with bigotry online, to which she responded cleverly, but she also got the opportunity to receive heaps of encouraging, affirming comments, including from transgender viewers who were thrilled by her success.
As her streak stretched on, her stats added up to something stunning. According to the show’s numbers for her 40 winning games, of the clues she answered, she was right 95 percent of the time and gave the correct responses for the Daily Double 87 percent of the time.
Because her streak had come so soon after that of Amodio, who lost in October, it prompted hypothesizing among fans of the show and members of the production team about why “Jeopardy!” was seeing an unusual number of streaks. The show’s executive producer, Michael Davies, shared several possible explanations, including the ever-expanding online archive of study materials and a new entrance exam that contestants could take anytime, instead of during particular windows.
Her success also came when the long-running game show was in the middle of a rocky transition after the death of its beloved host, Alex Trebek, in 2020. After one failed appointment, the show has yet to name a permanent successor, switching off between Jennings and the sitcom star Mayim Bialik.