Place Your Bets! Handicapping Jeopardy!'s Celebrity Invitational Tournament

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Jeopardy's annual Celebrity Invitational has been spread out over the course of the season this year. Once a month, three celebrities battled to qualify for next week's big semifinal round. Plenty of formidable competitors have bitten the dust, including Anderson Cooper and big, big loser Wolf Blitzer. Now, Movieline sizes up the remaining nine combatants with projected percentages for success. You'll be unnerved to know that one of Alex Trebek's Sony Pictures Studios' coworkers has a major edge.


Monday

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Jane Curtin: 10%

Pat Sajak: 50%

Harry Shearer 40%

Little-known fact: Pat Sajak is a registered Mensa member. He's also got a supersonic buzzer finger, which gives him an edge over Harry Shearer, a noted veteran of Celebrity Jeopardy. Jane Curtin cleaned up against Isaac Mizrahi and the seriously disappointing CCH Pounder, but her lack of Vanna-commanding confidence will be her undoing here.

Tuesday

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Michael McKean: 45%

Isaac Mizrahi: 25%

Charles Shaughnessy: 30%

Mark my words, this is the most heated game of the week. Michael McKean is one of the sharpest celebs ever to play the game (he's a vet of Rock 'N Roll Jeopardy also), and Charles Shaughnessy scored one of the top three celeb scores in Jeopardy! history during the '90s. As mentioned earlier, Mizrahi lost his first game to Jane Curtin -- but apparently Andy Richter, who racked up a season-high $68,000, dropped out of the competition and Mizrahi qualified as a wild card. We'll be seeing very fast gameplay on Tuesday, but McKean's aggressive betting strategy will seal his victory.

Wednesday

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Neil Patrick Harris: 40%

Jane Kaczmarek: 30%

Cheech Marin: 30%

Another intense round. All three celebs showed indefatigable smarts in the quarterfinals, but NPH strikes me as the one with fastest trivia recall. Marin ruled the roost in Celebrity Jeopardy's heyday, but the underlying cockiness in NPH's comprehension is a champion quality. Still, a nail-biter.

Two-Day Final

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Pat Sajak: 50%

Michael McKean: 40%

Neil Patrick Harris: 10%

I am nervous for a match-up between Sajak and McKean. These are two utterly intelligent people with enough trivia prowess to outdo many regular Jeopardy! contestants. I'm giving the million-dollar take-all to Sajak, whose show experience alone imbues his gameplay with a speed-round swiftness.



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