Jeopardy! winning streak comes to an end for Umass professor

  • University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Professor Joseph Bartolomeo’s run on “Jeopardy!” came to an end Monday night. He was the two-time defending champion.

For the Gazette
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — Joseph Bartolomeo’s two-day winning streak on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” came to an end Monday evening when the University of Massachusetts Amherst English professor lost to a Virginia social worker.

The two-time champion had won a total of $36,500, earning $14,000 on Thursday, and $22,500 on Friday.

In a phone interview after the show, Bartolomeo said he enjoyed meeting and talking with the other contestants.

“It was a fantastic experience, a great group of people and I have no regrets at all,” he said.

Bartolomeo started Monday’s game strong, getting every question right in the category “Women and the American Revolution” and remaining in the lead throughout the first round.

However, his lead was quickly whittled away in the second round as Blair Moorhead, a social worker from Arlington, Virginia, and law student Jack Paleczny of Chicago, Illinois, surpassed his earnings.

Going into Final Jeopardy, Bartolomeo trailed by $8,800, to Moorhead’s $10,600 and Paleczny’s $17,400.

In that final round, contestants must come up with the right question to the one clue in the category. When the final category is announced, they each strategically wager a sum of money, based on how well they think they know the category. Monday’s category was “19th Century Notables.”

The statement put to contestants: “Calling him a red-headed madman, in 1889 a group of his neighbors signed a petition to ban him from his home in Arles France.”

While Bartolomeo came up with the right answer — Vincent Van Gogh — his wager of $8,000, which bumped him up to $16,800 was not enough to beat Moorhead’s final score which was $17,402. Paleczny’s score fell to $13,400 after he incorrectly answered the question.

“If I had bet all of my money I would have won, but you know, it doesn’t matter it was just so much fun, and that is why I did it,” Bartolomeo said.

“This was something on my bucket list that I never thought I would get the opportunity to fulfill,” he said. “The fact that I did was great, and that I won twice was just icing on the cake.”

In an earlier statement, Bartolomeo had said that he grew up playing games like Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy, and that being on the TV game show was something he had always wanted to do.

Bartolomeo said that he is contractually barred from being on any more game shows for a year but isn’t ruling out a future appearance on another show.

“After a year, we will see,” he said with a chuckle.