Toronto-based tutor Mattea Roach held onto her streak last night – the eighth longest in “Jeopardy!” history – putting her one win closer to ascending through the ranks of the quiz show’s all-time greats.
The 23-year-old, who grew up in Halifax, needs to secure 19 victories to tie with David Madden and Jason Zuffranieri on the list of most consecutive wins.
Roach has racked up US$352,781 heading into tonight’s episode, amounting to the 10th highest winnings of anyone in the show’s regular-season history.
She’s also earned a spot in the show’s Tournament of Champions, which is set to air in the fall.
Her cousin, Carol Baan, says Roach has also won the mantle of “Canada’s sweetheart” as she makes her country and her family in Nova Scotia proud with her smarts and on-air charm.
“Even up to the 14th game, she still kind of looks like that kid in the candy store that just can’t believe it herself,” Baan said by phone from Ingonish on Cape Breton ahead of Roach’s 15th episode Monday evening.
“People are really endeared to her … It’s just so nice to see somebody so genuine and comfortable and totally happy with her success.”
Roach’s “Jeopardy!” success has rallied together her extended relatives to root for her, said Baan, with even third and fourth cousins getting in on the excitement.
“Everybody’s coming out of the woodwork now to see how they’re related to Mattea,” said Baan, whose first cousin is Roach’s mother. “It has really united the family more on social media and phone calls and messages.”
Baan said she tunes into the Newfoundland broadcast of “Jeopardy!” so she can see Roach hit the buzzer half an hour before the show airs in Nova Scotia, but she has to stay mum about the outcome to avoid spoilers.
“I have to keep it to myself until everybody’s watched the game,” she said.
Roach’s affinity for “Jeopardy!” runs in the family, said her uncle, Perry MacKinnon. Her grandparents never miss an episode, he said.
“But now instead of watching it once a night they watch it twice a night on two different channels,” MacKinnon said by phone from Ingonish.
Some nights MacKinnon and his wife join his parents in their Ingonish home to watch the show.
“Mom and dad just live for 7 o’clock in the evening for ‘Jeopardy! and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ anyways, now it just means so much more. They’re glued to the television,” he said.
Sign up for The Globe’s arts and lifestyle newsletters for more news, columns and advice in your inbox.