‘Jeopardy!’ Will Pivot During Fall Season to Keep Things Fair Amid Strike
Jeopardy! will kick off its 40th season a little differently this fall. Instead of welcoming new contestants, the game show will begin with returning competitors from past seasons who'll be taking part in a special second chance tournament.
The move comes in wake of the ongoing Writers' Guild of America strike, which has halted production on projects at every level, including television. Without writers crafting new answers for the famed Jeopardy! board, show-runners felt using old material would put new contestants in an unfair situation.
“I believe, principally, that it would not be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek Stage with non-original material,” show-runner Michael Davies tells the Inside Jeopardy! podcast. “We’re going to open the season with a second chance tournament for players from Season 37 who lost their initial game. Winners from that will advance to a Season 37 and Season 38 Champions Wildcard.”
During this tournament, answers will be compiled from material written before the strike, as well as old material used throughout past seasons. At this time, the writers' protests will not have an effect on the new season of Celebrity Jeopardy!, as material for the spinoff series was completed ahead of the strike.
Another change coming to the storied game show is the cash prizes awarded to each contestant.
“A major announcement we can make today,” Davies shares, “is that we are increasing the second and third place prize amounts by $1,000 each. Now, second place winners will receive $3,000 and third place winners will receive $2,000. The move was made in response to growing criticisms over the fact that runners-up must fund their own travel to participate in the show."
“This is something that we’ve been working on ever since I really took the reins of the show, something that obviously is discussed widely within our social communities and within the community of our contestants,” Davies adds. “We understand that post-COVID, travel costs have increased. We understand how complicated funding a trip to Jeopardy! is for many contestants within our community, and we think this is way about time that we did this.”
Jeopardy! returns to ABC on Monday, Sept. 11.