‘Jeopardy!’ champ Brad Rutter on Ken Jennings: ‘Not much pleasantries’

A little healthy competition never hurt anybody.

Brad Rutter, the highest-earning all-time “Jeopardy!” contestant, pulled back the curtain on his relationship with fellow champions Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.

“It’s both a brotherhood and it’s very competitive,” Rutter, 45, told The Post on Monday.

“If the three of us are in the green room at the ‘GOAT [‘Greatest of All Time’] Tournament,’ we’re being cordial to each other. We’re chatting, but we’re really focused and really intense, and it’s not much pleasantries.

“Any kind of conversation we’re having is just really to make ourselves less nervous,” he admitted.

Jennings, 49, won the GOAT tournament in January 2020,

However, including tournaments, Rutter still holds the title for the all-time “Jeopardy!” winnings with a grand total of $4,938,436 from the show.

Jennings ranks second in that category with $4,370,700 all-time winnings, as Holzhauer, 38, rounds out the Top 3 with $3,462,216.

Holzhauer (from left), Jennings and Rutter are seen during the “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” tournament in 2020.
ABC via Getty Images

All three men also put their trivia superpowers to the test on ABC’s trivia game show “The Chase” — where Rutter claims the behind-the-scenes vibes are less tense.

“Backstage on ‘The Chase,’ we’re just joking around and having fun and making fun of each other.”

“On ‘The Chase,’ I get paid either way,” he reasoned.

“I’m still answering trivia questions but I just want to get into a good frame of mind and banter with host Sarah [Haines] and the contestants, as opposed to ‘Jeopardy!’ which is so intense on every clue.”

The Post has contacted representatives for Jennings and Holzhauer for comment.

Brad ‘The Buzzsaw’ Rutter makes his first official appearance as the chaser on ABC’s “The Chase” on July 6.
ABC via Getty Images

Rutter and Jennings famously competed against IBM’s computer system Watson back in February 2011.

Watson blew both human champions out of the water, ultimately bringing home the $1 million prize.

When asked if Rutter would ever return to battle against today’s AI systems, such as ChatGPT, he quickly told The Post: “No way. They’re not getting me on that again.”

Jennings won the 2020 GOAT tournament.
Jennings won the 2020 GOAT tournament.
ABC via Getty Images

He explained that technology has drastically changed over the past 12 years.

“I imagine the current version of Watson is 10 times better than what they were putting out against me and Ken, and it beat the crap out of me and Ken 10 years ago. So, no ChatGPT.

“ChatGPT could play Watson and I’ll host it,” he suggested. “I would definitely be up for that.”

Rutter has not been invited back to “Jeopardy!” since his first-ever human loss to Jennings in the GOAT tournament.

‘Jeopardy!’ champion Brad Rutter on relationship with Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer: ‘No pleasantries'
The three men are the highest-winning “Jeopardy!” contestants of all time.
ABC via Getty Images

But earlier this month, the show’s producer, Sarah Whitcomb Foss, hinted that Ruter could return for the show’s 2024 Masters.

“I know our listeners know we got this little thing called the JIT, the ‘Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament,’” Foss said on the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast, referring to the new tournament that decides which “Jeopardy!’ alums earn a spot in the Masters tournament.

“Many of you wondered, ‘Where’s Brad Rutter? How is he not part of ‘Masters?’” Foss continued. “And yes, Brad Rutter has made more money on ‘Jeopardy!’ than any other contestant in history; those stats are so impressive.

“So what we now wanna see is, how is Brad right now? Can he come to the JIT, competing against some other greats, and prove that he deserves a spot as one of the current greats in ‘Masters’ next year?”

‘Jeopardy!’ champion Brad Rutter on relationship with Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer: ‘No pleasantries'
The winning trio, pictured with late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.
ABC via Getty Images

However, Rutter told The Post that while no one from the show has approached him about coming back, he would never say “no” to another round.

“‘Jeopardy!’ is about the most fun you can have, maybe second to playing ‘The Chase,’” he declared.

“The Chase” returns Friday at 9 p.m. EST on ABC and streams on Hulu. 

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