So far, a studio full of champions can't match the ratings punch of Ken Jennings.
The first week of the season, syndicated game powerhouse Jeopardy!, with Jennings resuming his winning ways from last season, averaged a 9.7 rating/18 share, slipping a bit to a 9.4/17 the second week but still pacing 31% ahead of the same period in 2003.
But since beginning its two-week Jennings-less Tournament of Champions Sept. 20, the show has seen its numbers slip from an 8.3/15 Monday to an 8.0/15 Tuesday to a 7.9/15 Wednesday, according to Nielsen weighted metered-market averages.
In the days when no champions could stick around for more than a week, a $250,000 tournament sounded like big money. But since Jennings has amassed in the millions, a point made on every show, that figure
may not be the draw it once was.
The three-day average without Jennings, an 8.1/1.5 is down 16% from Jennings' first week average and off 14% from his second week.
On the plus side, ratings are still up 13% over September 2003, and Jennings returns Oct. 4.