JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Alan Dunn, a software development manager from Johns Creek, is returning to the television quiz show “Jeopardy!” for the exclusive Tournament of Champions.
The Tournament of Champions is a special event that brings back 15 of the best champions from the show’s previous two seasons. This year’s tournament will air Nov. 4 to 15.
Dunn qualified for the tournament based on his five-game streak that aired last October, when he earned more than $120,000. He said so far he’s used the winnings to visit his grandson and add a screened-in porch to his home.
Dunn attributed his success to a lifelong love of “Jeopardy!” He has fond memories watching the original show that ran in the ’60s and ’70s, and had tried to apply to the show a few times before making it last year.
“For me, it’s all been bonus since the first game,” Dunn said. “My initial goals were to go out and not embarrass myself on TV and have enough money for Final Jeopardy. I did both of those things, and then I happened to win a game. Then I happened to win four more games.”
Dunn said after his initial run, he was feeling confident about being inviting back for the Tournament of Champions. When the players were announced, he made it safely with the number six spot.
Dunn will be appearing in the Tournament of Champions with James Holzhauer, the professional sports gambler from Las Vegas who had a 32-game winning streak earlier this year. Holzhauer broke a number of records during his run and became the first player to win more than $100,000 in a single episode, six times over.
Since appearing on the show, Dunn said he still watches “Jeopardy!” every night and was blown away by Holzhauer’s run.
“It was amazing,” Dunn said. “Clearly, he’s a player of a different level just in terms of the knowledge. To be a good “Jeopardy!” player, you have to have a wide range of knowledge. You can’t just be ‘this is my category, I’m good at this but nothing else.’ He was good in almost every category.”
Still, Dunn thinks Holzhauer will have a harder time at this go-around. Because multiple episodes are recorded each day, no one who competed against Holzhauer in his initial run had seen him play more than a few games, but the champions will have had months to study his strategy.
“Whether we can do anything about it, that remains to be seen, but it’s a different set of people he’s playing against.” he said.
The tournament will also include Emma Boettcher, the contestant who knocked out Holzhauer, the winners of the college and teachers’ tournaments, and the 12 highest earners from season 34 and 35, including Dunn.
With a weekly audience of 23 million viewers, “Jeopardy!” is the top-rated quiz show on television and has won 33 Daytime Emmy Awards. Look out for Dunn on the Tournament of Champions this November.