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'Jeopardy!' Episode With Ken Jennings, IBM Supercomputer Scores Best Rating in Four Years

The episode, part of a three-day competition also featuring contestant Brad Rutter, was the No. 2 most-watched show among households in all of TV for Monday, behind only "Two and a Half Men."

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek

Monday's episode of syndicated game show Jeopardy! was a big draw for viewers tuning in to see champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter take on the IBM supercomputer Watson.

The episode drew an 8.7 overnight household rating in the metered markets, making it the highest-rated episode in four years (since Feb. 13, 2007, when the show pulled in an 8.8), according to Nielsen data. It also was 24 percent higher than the show's February 2010 average (7.0).

The game show's distributor, CBS Television Distribution, also pointed out that Jeopardy! was the No. 2 program on all of television Monday when looking at household ratings, behind only CBS' Two and a Half Men (9.6).

Jeopardy! -- which is hosted by Alex Trebek -- also performed well in the top two TV markets, New York and Los Angeles. On WABC New York, Jeopardy! was the No. 1 program in the entire market, averaging an 11.6 (up 49% from February 2010). On KABC Los Angeles, the show averaged a 7.8 (up 34%).

Monday's episode marked the first day of a three-day competition featuring Jennings and Rutter -- the two winningest players in Jeopardy! history. At the end of the show, Rutter and Watson were tied with $5,000 each, while Jennings had $2,000.

At stake is a $1 million prize. If the computer wins, it will all be donated to charity; if Jennings or Rutter triumphs, half of the money will be given away.