James Holzhauer’s epic Jeopardy! run is over, but he left the show on a ratings high. Despite (or maybe because of) those early leaks, Monday’s episode of the syndicated game show notched a 10.1 household rating in Nielsen’s survey of the nation’s top TV markets, easily making it the top-rated show in all of TV Monday, the biggest episode of Holzhauer’s six-week stint, and top-rated installment of Jeopardy! since May 2005. Holzhauer’s swan song, big as it was, didn’t come close to matching the numbers Ken Jennings drew for his exit game: In November 2004, Jennings’s last show drew a stunning 12.96 household rating (albeit in an era of far less TV competition).
While Nielsen won’t release total viewer data until later this month, the data available now means about 10 percent of TV homes in the biggest U.S. cities tuned in to see Holzhauer lose on Jeopardy! For comparison’s sake, the No. 1 show in prime time Monday was ABC’s The Bachelorette, which notched a 3.6 overnight household rating. It’s tricky to compare overnight data to national numbers, but it’s worth noting that when Jeopardy! averaged an 8.3 national household rating during the first week of May, that translated to more than 13 million viewers. Assuming the show’s national household ratings come close to last night’s 10.1 local market rating, it wouldn’t be shocking if the final viewer tally for last night’s show hits or surpasses 15 million viewers. That would put the show within spitting distance of last month’s series finale of The Big Bang Theory. What is “Linear TV isn’t dead yet,” Alex?