If you have been watching the last three regular-season weeks of Jeopardy!, one thing has been constant: Julia Collins standing at the Champion’s Lectern.
As of this posting, Julia Collins has won 17 games of Jeopardy! and is one (perhaps two) wins away from clearing $400,000. She has the third-longest tenure of any contestant, behind Dave Madden’s 19 games1 and Ken Jennings’ 74-game streak. Julia cleared the women’s tenure and winnings records quite a while ago.
Yet no one outside of Jeopardy! seems to be talking about her.
Julia claimed her third-longest tenure title last week, winning her 12th game and passing another contestant from just a few months ago: Arthur Chu. Remember how everyone was talking about him, how offended they were that he employed an effective strategy used by several other contestants before him?2 Thousands of words were spent discussing Chu’s run on the show and positioned him as a villain—which is insane, but whatevs.
Julia’s success seems to be coming from emulating strategies that worked for Ken Jennings: buzz in first, then figure out the answer. Also, use word art to gussy up your name as you continue your stint on the show. However, Julia also has a knack for not buzzing in when she has no clue. She has one of the highest accuracy rates I’ve seen in a contestant, which is serving her (and her bank account) well. Also, Julia is not a smart-ass the way KenJen is, so perhaps her mild-mannered nature is causing her to maintain a low profile.
Perhaps it’s the timing of Julia’s tenure that’s complicating the conversation. Chu’s run was not that long ago, and her run had to take a two-week break for the conclusion of the Battle of the Decades tournament.3 Julia has not show signs of faltering, dominating her opponents and averaging over $21,000 per game. Her next milestone will be Thursday, when she has the opportunity to match Dave Madden’s tenure length. She’s also close to overtaking him in winnings—about $70,000 to go.
I hope we can get the conversation going before Friday.