After her epic run in the spring, the Maritimes’ favourite “Jeopardy!” champion is back for more.
Mattea Roach will return to the game show Tuesday night to compete in a special exhibition game against fellow champions Amy Schneider and Matt Amodio.
The three seeded champions are also taking part in the Tournament of Champions this week. They bypassed the quarter-finals and are headed straight to the semi-finals, which start Wednesday night. Roach’s semi-final match will air Friday night, according to the “Jeopardy!” website.
“Every single game, whether I was in it or not, first of all, contains three contestants that are just genuinely really nice people,” Roach told CTV Atlantic’s Katie Kelly during an interview this week. “Everyone that I met while taping the tournament was, in my opinion, a truly fantastic person outside the context of being clever and a great trivia player. But also there is, like, drama in this tournament. The stakes are high … every game is exciting.”
The 23-time winner first competed on the show earlier this year. Her streak came to an end in May after she lost to a woman from Georgia by just $1.
Roach says returning to “Jeopardy!” is “just gravy” – a phrase producers use to encourage returning contestants to have fun.
“I will have fun, that’s one of the best things I’m probably best known for about being on the show.”
Roach says she didn’t necessarily prepare for her return to the podium.
“I just have never been somebody who has been particularly motivated to study, I just don’t have the real drive for it, which I realize, maybe is kind of surprising to some people,” she says. “I learned all that stuff that I know on ‘Jeopardy’ by accident. I don’t even know how I know all that stuff!”
In the “Jeopardy!” standings, Roach sits at 5th place in both consecutive games won and career earnings in regular play, and is 9th on the all-time winnings list.
She is originally from Halifax and has family in Cape Breton, but now calls Toronto home.
Roach says the attention has been overwhelming since her historic winning streak.
“I appreciate it and I’m kinda bowled over by the support,” she says. “Even now, six months after my original run on the show, I’m still getting stopped on the street by people who are so excited to see me. I’m still surprised every time.”
During her initial “Jeopardy!” run, Roach won a total of $560,983 USD. She hasn’t made any big purchases with her winnings yet, saying it’s better out of sight, out of mind.
“I’ve spent maybe $4,500. The rest, I don’t even wanna look at it.”
However, Roach says she has bought a few more of her trademark blazers she wore during the show.
“What I didn’t previously own was any full, complete matching suits, so that was what I did for the tournament. I was like, ‘OK I can get an actual top and bottom matching set,’ so I got one that was kind of a burnt orange, like brown, and then just a navy.”
Roach says her life has changed since becoming a “Jeopardy!” champion, but not as much as people might think.
“I live in my same apartment, I do still teach the LSAT, although my career trajectory has definitely changed a little bit.”
She does have her own beer now, however.
Cape Breton-based Big Spruce Brewing recently released its “Who is Mattea Roach?” IPA for her 24th birthday.
“A number of people texted me, ‘Did you know about this?’ I didn’t know that it was going to happen,” she says.
Roach first applied to be on “Jeopardy!” in 2020 and was invited to Los Angeles to tape an episode in January 2022.
At that time, Roach says she was planning on going to law school in the fall, and was accepted, but ultimately decided not to go.
“It’s not so much that I’m definitely going to end up in a different place, or that I have a different end goal, I think it’s just I have a sense of openness now to exploring other options.”
Roach currently hosts a podcast, called “The BackBench,” about Canadian politics.
“It’s actually a panel show, so what I enjoy about it is that I get to introduce subjects and ask questions, but then we have a rotating panel of mostly journalists from across Canada that have different political takes on things, different lived experiences that they bring to the table, different areas of expertise.”
Meanwhile, Roach says she continues to feel support from “Jeopardy!” viewers in the Maritimes.
“It’s been overwhelming, but in a positive way, I would say, knowing how deep the support runs.”
If Roach wins the Tournament of Champions, she’ll claim the $250,000 grand prize.
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