Jeopardy! is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin.
The show features a quiz competition in which contestants are
presented with general knowledge clues in the form of answers, and
must phrase their responses in the form of questions. The original
daytime version debuted on
NBC on March 30, 1964, and aired until
January 3, 1975. A weekly nighttime syndicated edition aired from
September 1974 to September 1975, and a revival, The All-New
Jeopardy!, ran on
NBC from October 1978 to March 1979. The current
version, a daily syndicated show produced by Sony Pictures Television,
premiered on September 10, 1984.
NBC versions and the weekly syndicated version were hosted by Art
Don Pardo served as announcer until 1975, and John Harlan
announced for the 1978–1979 show. Since its inception, the daily
syndicated version has featured
Alex Trebek as host and Johnny Gilbert
With over 7,000 episodes aired, the daily syndicated version of
Jeopardy! has won a record 33 Daytime Emmy Awards and is the only
post-1960 game show to be honored with the Peabody Award. In 2013, the
program was ranked No. 45 on TV Guide's list of the 60 greatest shows
in American television history.
Jeopardy! has also gained a worldwide
following with regional adaptations in many other countries. The daily
syndicated series' 34th season premiered on September 11, 2017.
1.1 First two rounds
1.2 Final Jeopardy!
1.4 Returning champions
1.5 Variations for tournament play
2 Conception and development
3.1 Hosts and announcers
3.2 Clue Crew
3.3 Production staff
4.2 Theme music
4.3 Audition process
5 Broadcast history
5.1 Archived episodes
7 Tournaments and other events
7.1 Regular events
8 Record holders
9 Other media
9.1 Portrayals and parodies
11 External links
Three contestants each take their place behind a lectern, with the
returning champion occupying the leftmost lectern (from the viewer's
perspective). The contestants compete in a quiz game comprising three
rounds: Jeopardy!, Double Jeopardy!, and Final Jeopardy!. The
material for the clues covers a wide variety of topics, including
history and current events, the sciences, the arts, popular culture,
literature, and languages.
Category titles often feature puns,
wordplay, or shared themes, and the host will regularly remind
contestants of topics or place emphasis on category themes before the
start of the round.
First two rounds
The layout of the
Jeopardy! game board since November 26, 2001,
showing the dollar values used in the first round
Jeopardy! and Double
Jeopardy! rounds each feature six categories,
each of which contains five clues, which are ostensibly valued by
difficulty. The dollar values of the clues increased over time. On
Jeopardy! series, clue values in the first round ranged
from $10 to $50. On The All-New Jeopardy!, they ranged from $25 to
$125. The current series' first round originally ranged from $100 to
$500, and were doubled to $200 to $1,000 on November 26, 2001.
On the Super
Jeopardy! specials, clues were valued in points rather
than in dollars, and ranged in the first round from 200 to 1,000
Jeopardy! round begins when the returning champion selects a clue,
which may be from any position on the game board. The clue is revealed
and read aloud by the host, after which any contestant may ring-in
using a hand-held signaling device. The first contestant to ring-in
successfully is prompted to provide a response to the clue, phrased in
the form of a question. For example, if a contestant were to select
"Presidents for $200", the resulting clue could be "This 'Father of
Our Country' didn't really chop down a cherry tree", to which the
correct response would be "Who is/was George Washington?" (Contestants
are free to phrase the response in the form of any question; the
traditional phrasing of "who is/are" for people or "what is/are" for
things or words is almost always used.) If the contestant responds
correctly, the clue's dollar value is added to the contestant's score,
and they may select a new clue from the board. An incorrect response,
or a failure to respond within five seconds, deducts the clue's value
from the contestant's score and allows the other contestants the
opportunity to ring-in and respond. If no contestant both rings-in
and responds correctly, the host gives the correct response; the "last
correct questioner" chooses the next clue.
From the premiere of the original
Jeopardy! until the end of the first
season of the current syndicated series, contestants were allowed to
ring-in as soon as the clue was revealed. Since September 1985,
contestants are required to wait until the clue is read before
ringing-in. To accommodate the rule change, lights were added to the
game board (unseen by home viewers) to signify when it is permissible
for contestants to signal; attempting to signal before the light
goes on locks the contestant out for half of a second. The change
was made to allow the home audience to play along with the show more
easily and to keep an extremely fast contestant from potentially
dominating the game. In pre-1985 episodes, a buzzer would sound when a
contestant signaled; according to Trebek, the buzzer was eliminated
because it was "distracting to the viewers" and sometimes presented a
problem when contestants rang in while Trebek was still reading the
clue. Contestants who are visually impaired or blind are given a
card with the category names printed in
Braille before each round
begins, and an audible tone is played after the clue has been read
The second round, Double Jeopardy!, features six new categories of
clues. Clue values are doubled from the
Jeopardy! round (except in
Super Jeopardy!, where Double
Jeopardy! values ranged from 500 to
2,500 points). The contestant with the least amount of money at the
end of the
Jeopardy! round makes the first selection in Double
Jeopardy!; if there is a tie, the tied contestant standing at the
leftmost lectern selects first.
A "Daily Double" is hidden behind one clue in the
Jeopardy! round, and
behind two in Double Jeopardy! The name and inspiration were taken
from a horse racing term. Only the contestant who uncovers a Daily
Double may respond to that clue and need not use his/her signaling
device to do so. Before the clue is revealed, the contestant must
declare a wager, from a minimum of $5 to a maximum of his/her entire
score (known as a "true Daily Double") or the highest clue value
available in the round, whichever is greater. A correct
response adds the value of the wager to the contestant's score, while
an incorrect response deducts it. Whether or not the contestant
responds correctly, he or she maintains control of the board.
Jeopardy! round, except in response to the Daily Double
clue, contestants are not penalized for forgetting to phrase their
response in the form of a question, although the host will remind
contestants to watch their phrasing in future responses. In the Double
Jeopardy! round and in the Daily Double in the
Jeopardy! round, the
phrasing rule is followed more strictly, with a response not phrased
in the form of a question counting as wrong if it is not re-phrased
before the host or judges make a ruling. If it is determined that
a previous response was wrongly ruled to be correct or incorrect, the
scores are adjusted at the first available opportunity. If, after a
game is over, a ruling change is made that would have significantly
altered the outcome of the game, the affected contestant(s) are
invited back to compete on a future show.
Contestants who finish Double
Jeopardy! with $0 or a negative score
are automatically eliminated from the game at that point and awarded
the third place prize. On at least one episode hosted by Art Fleming,
all three contestants finished Double
Jeopardy! with $0 or less, and
as a result, no Final
Jeopardy! round was played. This rule is
still in-place for the Trebek version, although staff has suggested
that it is not set in stone and that executive producer Harry Friedman
may decide to display the clue for home viewers' play if such a
situation were ever to occur. During Celebrity
contestants with a $0 or negative score are given $1,000 for the Final
Jeopardy! round features a single clue. At the end of the
Jeopardy! round, the host announces the Final Jeopardy!
category, and a commercial break follows. During the break, barriers
are placed between the contestant lecterns, and each contestant makes
a final wager between $0 and his/her entire score. Contestants write
their wagers using a light pen to write on an electronic display on
their lectern. After the break, the Final
Jeopardy! clue is
revealed and read by the host. The contestants have 30 seconds to
write their responses on the electronic display, while the show's
iconic "Think!" music plays in the background. In the event that
either the display or the pen malfunctions, contestants can use an
index card and a marker to manually write their response and wager.
Visually impaired or blind contestants use a
Braille keyboard to type
in a wager and response.
Contestants' responses are revealed in order of their pre-Final
Jeopardy! scores from lowest to highest. A correct response adds the
amount of the contestant's wager to his/her score, while a miss,
failure to respond, or failure to phrase the response as a question
(even if correct) deducts it. The contestant with the highest score
at the end of the round is that day's winner. If there is a tie for
second place, consolation prizes are awarded based on the scores going
into the Final
Jeopardy! round. If all three contestants finish with
$0, no one returns as champion for the next show, and based on scores
going into the Final
Jeopardy! round, the two contestants who were
first and second will receive the second-place prize, and the
contestant in third will receive the third-place prize.
The strategy for wagering in Final
Jeopardy! has been studied. If the
leader's score is more than twice the second place contestant's score,
the leader can guarantee victory by making a sufficiently small
wager.:269 Otherwise, according to
Jeopardy! College Champion
Keith Williams, the leader will usually wager such that he or she will
have a dollar more than twice the second place contestant's score,
guaranteeing a win with a correct response. Writing about
Jeopardy! wagering in the 1990s, Gilbert and Hatcher said that "most
players wager aggressively".:269
The top scorer(s) in each game retain the value of their winnings in
cash, and return to play in the next match. Non-winners receive
consolation prizes. Since May 16, 2002, consolation prizes have been
$2,000 for the second-place contestant(s) and $1,000 for the
third-place contestant. Since the show does not generally provide
airfare or lodging for contestants, cash consolation prizes alleviate
contestants' financial burden. An exception is provided for returning
champions who must make several flights to Los Angeles.
Before 1984, all three contestants received their winnings in cash
(contestants who finished with $0 or a negative score received
consolation prizes). This was changed in order to make the game more
competitive, and avoid the problem of contestants who would stop
participating in the game, or avoid wagering in Final Jeopardy!,
rather than risk losing the money they had already won. From 1984
to 2002, non-winning contestants on the Trebek version received
vacation packages and merchandise, which were donated by manufacturers
as promotional consideration. The current cash consolation prize is
provided by Geico.
The winner of each episode returns to compete against two new
contestants on the next episode. Originally, a contestant who won five
consecutive days retired undefeated and was guaranteed a spot in the
Tournament of Champions; the five-day limit was eliminated at the
beginning of season 20 on September 8, 2003.
Since November 2014, ties for first place following Final
Jeopardy! are broken with a tie-breaker clue, resulting in only a
single champion being named, keeping their winnings, and returning to
compete in the next show. The tied contestants are given the single
clue, and the contestant must give the correct question. A contestant
cannot win by default if the opponent gives an incorrect question.
That contestant must give a correct question to win the game. If
neither player gives the correct question, another clue is given.
Previously, if two or all three contestants tied for first place, they
were declared "co-champions", and each retained his or her winnings
and returned on the following episode. A tie occurred on the January
29, 2014, episode when Arthur Chu, leading at the end of Double
Jeopardy!, wagered to tie challenger Carolyn Collins rather than
winning; Chu followed
Jeopardy! College Champion Keith Williams's
advice to wager for the tie to increase the leader's chances of
winning. A three-way tie for first place has only occurred
once on the Trebek version, on March 16, 2007, when Scott Weiss, Jamey
Kirby, and Anders Martinson all ended the game with $16,000. Until
March 1, 2018, no regular game had ended in a tie-breaker;
numerous tournament games have ended with a tie-breaker clue.
If no contestant finishes Final
Jeopardy! with a positive total, there
is no winner. This has happened on several episodes, most
recently on January 18, 2016. Three new contestants appear on the
next episode. A triple zero has also occurred twice in tournament play
(1991 Seniors and 2013 Teen), and also once in a Celebrity Week
episode in 1998. All consolation prize money (regular play, with
one $2,000 and two $1,000 prizes, and Celebrity play, prize money for
charities) are based on standard rules (score after Double Jeopardy!).
In tournament play, an additional high scoring non-winner will advance
to the next round (but all three players with a zero score in that
game are eligible for that position should the score for that
non-winner be zero; all tie-breaker rules apply).
Special considerations have been given for contestants who were unable
to return as champion because of circumstances beyond their control,
especially when there is a considerable time between taping of
episodes. This occurred for the first time in season 25, when
Priscilla Ball, who won on January 16, 2009, was unable to attend the
taping of the next episode because of illness; as a result, three new
contestants appeared on the next episode. Ball returned as a
co-champion to play on the episode airing April 9, 2009. On the
episode aired December 21, 2015, the returning champion, Claudia
Corriere, could not return as champion because of a job offered in the
weeks between tapings, so three new contestants played that day as
well. Corriere returned as a co-champion on the January 18, 2016,
episode, but was eliminated in a three-way loss.
Typically, the two challengers participate in a backstage draw to
determine lectern positions. In all situations with three new
contestants (most notably tournaments in the first round), the draw
will also determine who will take the champion's position and select
first to start the game. (The player scoring the highest in the
preceding round will be given the chance to select first in the
semifinal and finals.)
Variations for tournament play
Tournaments generally run for 10 consecutive episodes and feature 15
contestants. The first five episodes, the quarter-finals, feature
three new contestants each day. The winners of these five games, and
the four highest scoring non-winners ("wild cards"), advance to the
semi-finals, which run for three days. The winners of these three
games advance to play in a two-game final match, in which the scores
from both games are combined to determine the overall standings. This
format has been used since the first Tournament of Champions in 1985
and was devised by Trebek himself.
To prevent later contestants from playing to beat the earlier wild
card scores instead of playing to win, contestants are "completely
isolated from the studio until it is their time to compete."
If there is a tie for the final wild card position, the non-winner
that advances will be based on the same regulations as two contestants
who tie for second; the tie-breaker is the contestant's score after
Jeopardy! round, and if further tied, the score after the
Jeopardy! round determines the contestant who advances as the wild
If two or more contestants tie for the highest score (greater than
zero) at the end of match (first round, semi-final game, or end of a
two-game final), the standard tiebreaker is used. However, if two or
more contestants tie for the highest score at the end of the first
game of a two-game final, no tiebreaker is played.
If none of the contestants in a quarter-final or semi-final game end
with a positive score, no contestant automatically qualifies from that
game, and an additional wild card contestant advances instead.
This occurred in the quarter-finals of the 1991 Seniors Tournament and
the semi-finals of the 2013 Teen Tournament.
In the finals, contestants who finish Double
Jeopardy! with a $0 or
negative score on either day do not play Final
Jeopardy! that day;
their score for that leg is recorded as $0.
Conception and development
In a 1964
Associated Press profile released shortly before the
Jeopardy! series premiered,
Merv Griffin offered the
following account of how he created the quiz show:
My wife Julann just came up with the idea one day when we were in a
plane bringing us back to
New York City
New York City from Duluth. I was mulling
over game show ideas, when she noted that there had not been a
successful "question and answer" game on the air since the quiz show
scandals. Why not do a switch, and give the answers to the contestant
and let them come up with the question? She fired a couple of answers
to me: "5,280" – and the question of course was "How many feet in a
mile?". Another was "79 Wistful Vista"; that was Fibber and Mollie
McGee's address. I loved the idea, went straight to
NBC with the idea,
and they bought it without even looking at a pilot show.
Griffin's first conception of the game used a board comprising ten
categories with ten clues each, but after finding that this board
could not easily be shown on camera, he reduced it to two rounds of
thirty clues each, with five clues in each of six categories. He
originally intended the show to require grammatically correct phrasing
(e.g., only accepting "Who is ..." for a person), but after
finding that grammatical correction slowed the game down, he decided
that the show should instead accept any correct response that was in
question form. Griffin discarded his initial title for the show,
What's the Question?, when skeptical network executive Ed Vane
rejected his original concept of the game, claiming, "It doesn't have
Jeopardy! was not the first game show to give contestants the answers
and require the questions. That format had previously been used by the
Gil Fates-hosted program CBS Television Quiz, which aired from July
1941 until May 1942.
Hosts and announcers
Art Fleming hosted the
NBC and syndicated versions from 1964 to 1975,
and again from 1978 to 1979.
Alex Trebek has hosted the daily syndicated version since 1984.
The first three versions of the show were hosted by Art Fleming. Don
Pardo served as announcer for the original
NBC version and weekly
syndicated version, but when NBC's revival The All-New Jeopardy!
launched in 1978, Pardo's announcing duties were taken over by John
Alex Trebek has served as host of the daily syndicated version since
it premiered in 1984, except when he switched places with Wheel of
Pat Sajak as an
April Fool's joke
April Fool's joke on the episode aired
April 1, 1997. His most recent contract renewal, from May 2017,
takes his tenure through the 2019–2020 season. In the daily
syndicated version's first pilot, from 1983,
Jay Stewart served as the
show's announcer, but
Johnny Gilbert took over the role when that
version was picked up as a series and has held it since then.
Kelly Miyahara of the Clue Crew at the
International CES in
Jeopardy! Clue Crew, introduced on September 24, 2001, is a team
of roving correspondents who appear in videos, recorded around the
world, to narrate some clues. Explaining why the Clue Crew was
added to the show, executive producer
Harry Friedman said, "TV is a
visual medium, and the more visual we can make our clues, the more we
think it will enhance the experience for the viewer."
Following the initial announcement of auditions for the team, over
5,000 people applied for Clue Crew posts. The original Clue Crew
members were Cheryl Farrell, Jimmy McGuire, Sofia Lidskog, and Sarah
Whitcomb. Lidskog departed the Clue Crew in 2004 to become an
anchor on the high school news program Channel One News, and a search
was held to replace her in early 2005. The winners were Jon Cannon
and Kelly Miyahara, who formally joined the crew starting in season
22, which premiered on September 12, 2005. Farrell continued to
record clues for episodes aired as late as October 2008, and
Cannon continued to appear until July 2009.
The Clue Crew has traveled to 280 cities worldwide, spanning all 50 of
the United States and 44 other countries. In addition to appearing in
Jeopardy! clue videos, the team's members also travel to meet fans of
the show and future contestants. Occasionally, they visit schools to
showcase the educational game Classroom Jeopardy! Miyahara also
serves as announcer for the
Sports Jeopardy! spin-off series.
Robert Rubin served as the producer of the original
for most of its run, and later became its executive producer.
Following Rubin's promotion, the line producer was Lynette
Griffin was the daily syndicated version's executive producer until
his retirement in 2000. Trebek served as producer as well as host
until 1987, when he began hosting NBC's Classic Concentration for the
next four years. At that time, he handed producer duties to George
Vosburgh, who had formerly produced The All-New Jeopardy!. In the
1997–1998 season, Vosburgh was succeeded as producer by Harry
Friedman, Lisa Finneran, and Rocky Schmidt. Beginning in 1999,
Friedman became executive producer, and Gary Johnson became the
show's new third producer. In the 2006–2007 season, Deb Dittmann and
Brett Schneider became the producers, and Finneran, Schmidt, and
Johnson were promoted to supervising producers.
Jeopardy! series was directed at different times by Bob
Hultgren, Eleanor Tarshis, and Jeff Goldstein. Dick Schneider, who
directed episodes of The All-New Jeopardy!, returned as director for
the Trebek version's first eight seasons. Since 1992, the show has
been directed by Kevin McCarthy, who had previously served as
associate director under Schneider.
The current version of
Jeopardy! employs nine writers and five
researchers to create and assemble the categories and clues. Billy
Wisse and Michele Loud, both longtime staff members, are the editorial
producer and editorial supervisor, respectively. Previous writing
and editorial supervisors have included Jules Minton, Terrence
McDonnell, Harry Eisenberg, and Gary Johnson.
The show's production designer is Naomi Slodki. Previous art
directors have included Henry Lickel, Dennis Roof, Bob Rang,
Ed Flesh (who also designed sets for other game shows such as The
$25,000 Pyramid, Name That Tune, and Wheel of Fortune).
The daily syndicated version of
Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures
Television (previously known as Columbia TriStar Television, the
successor company to original producer
Merv Griffin Enterprises).
The copyright holder is Jeopardy Productions, which, like SPT,
operates as a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment. The
rights to distribute the program worldwide are owned by CBS Television
Distribution, which absorbed original distributor King World
Productions in 2007.
Jeopardy! series was taped in Studio 6A at
NBC Studios at
30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, and The All-New Jeopardy!
was taped in Studio 3 at NBC's Burbank Studios at 3000 West Alameda
Avenue in Burbank, California. The Trebek version was initially
Metromedia Stage 7, KTTV, on
Sunset Boulevard in
Hollywood, but moved its production facilities to
Studios' Stage 9 in 1985. After the final shows of season 10 were
recorded on February 15, 1994, the
Jeopardy! production facilities
were moved to Sony Pictures Studios' Stage 10 on Washington Boulevard
in Culver City, California, where the show has been recorded ever
Various sets used by the syndicated version over the years. From top
to bottom: 1984–85, 1985–91, 1991–96, 1996–2002, 2002–09,
Various technological and aesthetic changes have been made to the
Jeopardy! set over the years. The original game board was exposed from
behind a curtain and featured clues printed on cardboard pull cards
which were revealed as contestants selected them. The All-New
Jeopardy!'s game board was exposed from behind double-slide panels and
featured flipping panels with the dollar amount on one side and the
clue on the other. When the Trebek version premiered in 1984, the game
board used individual television monitors for each clue within
categories. The original monitors were replaced with larger and
sleeker ones in 1991. In 2006, these monitors were discarded in
favor of a nearly seamless projection video wall, which was
replaced in 2009 with 36 high-definition flat-panel monitors
manufactured by Sony Electronics.
From 1985 to 1997, the sets were designed to have a background color
of blue for the
Jeopardy! round and red for the Double
Jeopardy! rounds. At the beginning of season 8 in 1991, a brand
new set was introduced that resembled a grid. On the episode aired
November 11, 1996, two months after the start of season 13, Jeopardy!
introduced the first of several sets designed by Naomi Slodki, who
intended the set to resemble "the foyer of a very contemporary
library, with wood and sandblasted glass and blue granite".
Shortly after the start of season 19 in 2002, the show switched to yet
another new set, which was given slight modifications when
Jeopardy! and sister show Wheel of Fortune transitioned to
high-definition broadcasting in 2006. During this time, the show
began to feature virtual tours of the set on its official web
site. The various HD improvements for
Jeopardy! and Wheel
represented a combined investment of approximately $4 million, 5,000
hours of labor, and 6 miles (9.7 km) of cable. Both shows had
been shot using HD cameras for several years before beginning to
broadcast in HD. On standard-definition television broadcasts, the
shows continue to be displayed with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
Jeopardy! updated its set once again. The new set debuted
with special episodes taped at the 42nd annual International CES
technology trade show, hosted at the
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas Convention Center in
Winchester (Las Vegas Valley), Nevada, and became the primary set for
Jeopardy! when the show began taping its 26th season, which premiered
on September 14, 2009. It was significantly remodeled when season
30 premiered in September 2013.
Since the debut of
Jeopardy! in 1964, several different songs and
arrangements have served as the theme music for the show, most of
which were composed by Griffin. The main theme for the original
Jeopardy! series was "Take Ten", composed by Griffin's wife
Julann. The All-New
Jeopardy! opened with "January, February,
March" and closed with "Frisco Disco", both of which were composed by
The best-known theme song on
Jeopardy! is "Think!", originally
composed by Griffin under the title "A Time for Tony", as a lullaby
for his son. "Think!" has always been used for the 30-second
period in Final
Jeopardy! when the contestants write down their
responses, and since the syndicated version debuted in 1984, a
rendition of that tune has been used as the main theme song.
"Think!" has become so popular that it has been used in many different
contexts, from sporting events to weddings. Griffin estimated that
the use of "Think!" had earned him royalties of over $70 million
throughout his lifetime. "Think!" led Griffin to win the Broadcast
Music, Inc. (BMI) President's Award in 2003, and during GSN's 2009
Game Show Awards special, it was named "Best Game Show Theme
Song". In 1997, the main theme and Final
Jeopardy! recordings of
"Think!" were rearranged by Steve Kaplan, who served as the show's
music director until his December 2003 death. In 2008, Chris Bell
Music and Sound Design overhauled the
Jeopardy! music package for the
show's 25th anniversary.
Jeopardy! audition process
Prospective contestants of the original
Jeopardy! series called the
show's office in New York to arrange an appointment and to
preliminarily determine eligibility. They were briefed and auditioned
together in groups of ten to thirty individuals, participating in both
a written test and mock games. Individuals who were successful at the
audition were invited to appear on the program within approximately
Auditioning for the current version of the show begins with a written
exam, comprising fifty questions in total. This exam is administered
online periodically, as well as being offered at regional contestant
search events. Since season 15 (1998–99), the show has used a
Winnebago recreational vehicle called the "
Jeopardy! Brain Bus" to
conduct regional events throughout the United States and Canada.
Participants who correctly answer at least 35 out of 50 questions
advance in the audition process and are invited to compete in mock
games. Those who are approved are notified at a later time and invited
to appear on the show.
In 2016, producers disallowed Canadians from applying online, citing
new Canadian privacy rules regarding personal information on the
Internet. Trebek confirmed this to
The Ottawa Citizen
The Ottawa Citizen in an interview.
Neither named a particular law or regulation, and
The Toronto Star
The Toronto Star was
unable to discern the exact problem.
Jeopardy! broadcast information
Jeopardy! series premiered on
NBC on March 30, 1964,
and by the end of the 1960s was the second-highest-rated daytime game
show, behind only The
Hollywood Squares. The show was successful
until 1974, when Lin Bolen, then NBC's Vice President of Daytime
Programming, moved the show out of the noontime slot where it had been
located for most of its run, as part of her effort to boost ratings
among the 18–34 female demographic. After 2,753 episodes, the
Jeopardy! series ended on January 3, 1975; to compensate
Griffin for its cancellation,
NBC purchased Wheel of Fortune, another
show that he had created, and premiered it the following Monday. A
syndicated edition of Jeopardy!, distributed by
featuring many contestants who were previously champions on the
original series, aired in the primetime during the 1974–1975
NBC daytime series was later revived as The All-New
Jeopardy!, which premiered on October 2, 1978 and aired 108
episodes, ending on March 2, 1979; this revival featured
significant rule changes, such as progressive elimination of
contestants over the course of the main game, and a bonus round
instead of Final Jeopardy!
The daily syndicated version debuted on September 10, 1984, and
was launched in response to the success of the syndicated version of
Wheel and the installation of electronic trivia games in pubs and
bars. This version of the program has met with greater success
than the previous incarnations; it has outlived 300 other game shows
and become the second most popular game show in syndication (behind
Wheel), averaging 25 million viewers per week. The show's most recent
renewal, in May 2017, extends it through the 2019–2020 season.
Countries with versions of
Jeopardy! listed in yellow (the common
Arabic-language version in light yellow)
Jeopardy! has spawned versions in many foreign countries throughout
the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden,
Russia, Denmark, Israel, and Australia. The American syndicated
Jeopardy! is also broadcast throughout the world, with
international distribution rights handled by CBS Studios
Three spin-off versions of
Jeopardy! have been created. Rock &
Jeopardy! debuted on
VH1 in 1998 and ran until 2001; the
show centered around post-1950s popular music trivia and was hosted by
Jeff Probst. Jep!, which aired on GSN during the 1998–1999
season, was a special children's version hosted by
Bob Bergen and
featured various rule changes from the original version. Sports
Jeopardy!, a sports-themed version hosted by Dan Patrick, premiered in
2014 on the Crackle digital service and eventually moved to the cable
NBCSN in 2016.
Only a small number of episodes of the first three
survive. From the original
NBC daytime version, archived episodes
mostly consist of black-and-white kinescopes of the original color
videotapes. Various episodes from 1967, 1971, 1973, and 1974 are
listed among the holdings of the UCLA Film and Television
Archive. The 1964 "test episode", Episode No. 2,000 (from
February 21, 1972), and a June 1975 episode of the weekly syndicated
edition exist at the Paley Center for Media. Incomplete paper
records of the NBC-era games exist on microfilm at the Library of
Congress. GSN holds The All-New Jeopardy!'s premiere and finale in
broadcast quality, and aired the latter on December 31, 1999, as part
of its "Y2Play" marathon. The UCLA Archive holds a copy of a pilot
taped for CBS in 1977, and the premiere exists among the Paley
GSN, which, like Jeopardy!, is an affiliate of Sony Pictures
Television, has rerun ten seasons since the channel's launch in 1994.
Copies of 43 Trebek-hosted syndicated
Jeopardy! episodes aired between
1989 and 2004 have been collected by the UCLA Archive, and the
premiere and various other episodes are included in the Paley Center's
By 1994 the press called
Jeopardy! "an American icon". It has won
a record 33 Daytime Emmy Awards since 1984. The show holds the
record for the
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience
Participation Show, with fifteen awards won in that category.
Another five awards have been won by Trebek for Outstanding Game Show
Host. Twelve other awards were won by the show's directors and
writers in the respective categories of Outstanding Direction for a
Game/Audience Participation Show and Outstanding
Special Class Writing
before these categories were removed in 2006. On June 17, 2011, Trebek
shared the Lifetime Achievement Award with Sajak at the 38th Annual
Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony. The following year, the show was
honored with a
Peabody Award for its role in encouraging, celebrating,
and rewarding knowledge; as such, it holds the distinction of
being the only game show since 1960 to win the Peabody Award.
In its April 17–23, 1993 issue,
TV Guide named
Jeopardy! the best
game show of the 1970s as part of a celebration of its 40th
anniversary. In January 2001, the magazine ranked the show number
2 on its "50 Greatest Game Shows" list—second only to The Price Is
Right. It would later rank
Jeopardy! number 45 on its list of the
60 Best TV Series of All Time, calling it "habit-forming" and saying
that the program "always makes [its viewers] feel smarter". Also
in 2013, the show ranked number 1 on TV Guide's list of the 60
Greatest Game Shows. In the summer of 2006, the show was ranked
number 2 on GSN's list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time,
second only to Match Game.
A hall of fame honoring
Jeopardy! was added to the Sony Pictures
Studios tour on September 20, 2011. It features the show's Emmy Awards
as well as retired set pieces, classic merchandise, video clips,
photographs, and other memorabilia related to Jeopardy!'s
In 1989, Fleming expressed dissatisfaction with the daily syndicated
Jeopardy! series in an essay published in Sports Illustrated. He
confessed that he only watched the Trebek version infrequently, and
then only for a handful of questions; and also criticized this new
iteration mainly for its
Hollywood setting. Fleming believed that, in
contrast to New Yorkers who Fleming considered to be more intelligent
and authentic, moving the show to
Hollywood brought both an
unrealistic glamour and a dumbing-down of the program that he
disdained. He also disliked the decision to not award losing
contestants their cash earnings (believing the parting gifts offered
instead to be cheap) and expressed surprise that what he considered to
be a parlor game had transformed into such a national phenomenon under
Jeopardy!'s answer-and-question format has become widely entrenched:
Fleming observed that other game shows would have contestants phrasing
their answers in question form, leading hosts to remind them that they
are not competing on Jeopardy!
Tournaments and other events
Main article: List of
Jeopardy! tournaments and events
Starting in 1985, the show has held an annual Tournament of Champions
featuring the top fifteen champions who have appeared on the show
since the last tournament. The top prize awarded to the winner was
originally valued at $100,000, and increased to $250,000 in
2003. Other regular tournaments include the Teen Tournament, with
a $100,000 top prize; the College Championship, in which
undergraduate students from American colleges and universities compete
for a $100,000 top prize; and the Teachers Tournament, where educators
compete for a $100,000 top prize. Each tournament runs for ten
consecutive episodes in a format devised by Trebek himself, consisting
of five quarter-final games, three semifinals, and a final consisting
of two games with the scores totaled. Winners of the College
Championship and Teachers Tournament are invited to participate in the
Tournament of Champions.
Non-tournament events held regularly on the show include Celebrity
Jeopardy!, in which celebrities and other notable individuals compete
for charitable organizations of their choice; and Kids Week, a
special competition for school-age children aged 10 through 12.
Three International Tournaments, held in 1996, 1997, and 2001,
featured one-week competitions among champions from each of the
international versions of Jeopardy!. Each of the countries that aired
their own version of the show in those years could nominate a
contestant. The format was identical to the semifinals and finals of
Jeopardy! tournaments. In 1996 and 1997, the winner
received $25,000; in 2001, the top prize was doubled to $50,000. The
1997 tournament was recorded in
Stockholm on the set of the Swedish
version of Jeopardy!, and is significant for being the first week of
Jeopardy! episodes to be taped in a foreign country.
There have been a number of special tournaments featuring the greatest
Jeopardy! history. The first of these "all-time best"
tournaments, Super Jeopardy!, aired in the summer of 1990 on ABC, and
featured 35 top contestants from the previous seasons of the Trebek
version and one notable champion from the original
competing for a top prize of $250,000. In 1993, that year's
Tournament of Champions was followed by a Tenth Anniversary Tournament
conducted over five episodes. In May 2002, to commemorate the
Trebek version's 4,000th episode, the show invited fifteen champions
to play for a $1 million prize in the Million Dollar Masters
tournament, which took place at
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall in New York
City. The Ultimate Tournament of Champions aired in 2005 and
pitted 145 former
Jeopardy! champions against each other, with two
winners moving on to face
Ken Jennings in a three-game final for
$2,000,000, the largest prize in the show's history; overall, the
tournament spanned 15 weeks and 76 episodes, starting on February 9
and ending on May 25. In 2014,
Jeopardy! commemorated the 30th
anniversary of the Trebek version with a Battle of the Decades
tournament, in which 15 champions apiece from the first, second, and
third decades of Jeopardy!'s daily syndicated history competed for a
grand prize of $1,000,000.
In November 1998,
Jeopardy! traveled to
Boston to reassemble 12 past
Teen Tournament contestants for a special Teen Reunion Tournament.
In 2008, the 25th season began with reuniting 15 contestants from the
first two Kids Weeks to compete in a special reunion tournament of
their own. During the next season (2009–2010), a special
edition of Celebrity Jeopardy!, called the Million Dollar Celebrity
Invitational, was played in which twenty-seven contestants from past
celebrity episodes competed for a grand prize of $1,000,000 for
charity; the grand prize was won by Michael McKean.
IBM Challenge aired February 14–16, 2011, and featured IBM's
Watson computer facing off against
Ken Jennings and
Brad Rutter in a
two-game match played over three shows. This was the first
man-vs.-machine competition in Jeopardy!'s history. Watson won
both the first game and the overall match to win the grand prize of $1
IBM divided between two charities (World Vision
International and World Community Grid). Jennings, who won
$300,000 for second place, and Rutter, who won the $200,000
third-place prize, both pledged to donate half of their winnings to
charity. The competition brought the show its highest ratings
since the Ultimate Tournament of Champions.
Jeopardy!'s record for the longest winning streak is held by Ken
Jennings, who competed on the show from June 2 through November 30,
2004, winning 74 matches before being defeated by Nancy Zerg in his
75th appearance. He amassed $2,520,700 over his 74 wins and a $2,000
second-place prize in his 75th appearance. At the time, he held the
record as the highest money-winner ever on American game shows, and
his winning streak increased the show's ratings and popularity to the
point where it became TV's highest-rated syndicated program.
Jennings later won the $500,000 second-place prize in the 2005
Ultimate Tournament of Champions, the $300,000 second-place prize in
IBM Challenge, and the $100,000 second-place prize in the Battle
of the Decades.
The highest-earning all-time
Jeopardy! contestant is Brad Rutter, who
has won a cumulative total of $4,355,102. He became an undefeated
champion in 2000 and later won an unprecedented four Jeopardy!
tournaments: the 2001 Tournament of Champions, the 2002 Million
Dollar Masters Tournament, the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of
Champions, and the 2014 Battle of the Decades. Rutter broke
Jennings's record for all-time game show winnings when he defeated
Jerome Vered in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions
finals. Jennings regained the record through appearances on various
other game shows, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter than
a 5th Grader? on October 10, 2008. In 2014, Rutter regained the title
after winning $1,000,000 in the Battle of the Decades, defeating
Jennings and Roger Craig in the finals.
Craig is the holder of the all-time record for single-day winnings on
Jeopardy!. On the episode that aired September 14, 2010, he amassed a
score of $47,000 after the game's first two rounds, then wagered and
won an additional $30,000 in the Final
Jeopardy! round, finishing with
$77,000. The previous single-day record of $75,000 had been set by
The record-holder among female contestants on Jeopardy!—in both
number of games and total winnings—is Julia Collins, who amassed
$429,100 over 21 games between April 21 and June 2, 2014. She won
$428,100 in her 20 games as champion, plus $1,000 for finishing third
in her twenty-first game. Collins also achieved the
second-longest winning streak on the show, behind Jennings. The
streak, which was interrupted in May by the Battle of the Decades, was
broken by Brian Loughnane.
The highest single-day winnings in a Celebrity
was achieved by comedian
Andy Richter during a first-round game of the
2009–2010 season's "Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational", in which
he finished with $68,000 for his selected charity, the St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital.
Four contestants on the Trebek version have won a game with the lowest
amount possible ($1). The first was U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel
Darryl Scott, on the episode that aired January 19, 1993;
the second was Benjamin Salisbury, on a Celebrity
that aired April 30, 1997; the third was Brandi Chastain, on the
Jeopardy! episode that aired February 9, 2001; and the
fourth was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Manny Abell, on the episode that aired
October 17, 2017.
Portrayals and parodies
Jeopardy! has been featured in a number of films, television shows and
books over the years, mostly with one or more characters participating
as contestants, or viewing and interacting with the game show from
their own homes.
On "Questions and Answers", a season 7 episode of The Golden Girls
aired February 8, 1992, Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) auditions for
Jeopardy!, but despite her excellent show of knowledge, she is
rejected by a contestant coordinator who feels that America would not
root for her. In a dream sequence, Dorothy competes against roommate
Rose Nylund (Betty White) and neighbor Charlie Dietz (David Leisure),
in a crossover from Empty Nest. Trebek and Griffin appear as
themselves in the dream sequence, and Gilbert provides a
A 1988 episode of
Mama's Family titled "Mama on Jeopardy!" features
the titular Mama,
Thelma Harper (Vicki Lawrence), competing on the
show after her neighbor and friend
Iola Boylan (Beverly Archer) is
rejected. For most of the game the questions given by Mama are
incorrect, but she makes a miraculous comeback near the end and barely
qualifies for Final
Jeopardy! Her final question given is also
incorrect, but she finishes in second place by $1 and wins a trip to
Hawaii for herself and her family. Again, Trebek guest stars and
Gilbert provides a voice-over.
Cheers episode "What Is... Cliff Clavin?" (1990), the titular
mailman, portrayed by John Ratzenberger, appears on the show and racks
up an impressive $22,000 going into the Final
Jeopardy! round, well
ahead of his competitors. Despite having a total that his competitors
cannot reach in Final Jeopardy!, Cliff risks all of his winnings on
the final clue, which is revealed to be "Archibald Leach, Bernard
Schwartz and Lucille LeSueur" (the real names of Cary Grant, Tony
Curtis, and Joan Crawford, respectively). Cliff's response, "Who are
three people who've never been in my kitchen?", is deemed incorrect,
and he leaves with no money.
In "I Take Thee Quagmire", a season 4 episode of
Family Guy aired
March 12, 2006, Mayor Adam West appears as a contestant on Jeopardy!.
He spells Trebek's name backwards (as "Kebert Xela"), "sending him
back" to the fifth dimension, in reference to when Mister Mxyzptlk, a
nemesis to DC Comics' Superman, is sent to the fifth dimension when
someone makes him say his own name backwards.
Trebek appears as himself on "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace", a season
9 episode of
The Simpsons in which
Marge Simpson appears on a
fictional version of the show, but performs very poorly, leaving with
–$5,200. Trebek then demands Marge pay this amount to the show.
From 1996 to 2002 and again in 2005, 2009, and 2015, Saturday Night
Live featured a recurring Celebrity
Jeopardy! sketch in which Trebek,
portrayed by Will Ferrell, has to deal with the exasperating
ineptitude of the show's celebrity guests and the constant taunts of
Sean Connery (played by Darrell Hammond) and Burt Reynolds
(Norm Macdonald), the latter of whom at one point insists on being
called "Turd Ferguson".
Jeopardy! is featured in a subplot of the 1992 film White Men Can't
Jump, in which Gloria Clemente (Rosie Perez) attempts to pass the
show's auditions. She succeeds, and ends up appearing on the
show, winning over $14,000.
Univision Deportes program Fútbol Club features a segment similar
Jeopardy! named "Yoperdy!", the name itself a Spanish language
parody of the
Other films and television series in which
Jeopardy! has been
portrayed over the years include The 'Burbs, Die Hard, Men in Black,
Rain Man, Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story, Charlie's Angels,
Dying Young, The Education of Max Bickford, The Bucket List, Groundhog
Day, Predator 2, and Finding Forrester.
David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace short story "Little Expressionless
Animals", first published in
The Paris Review and later reprinted in
Wallace's collection Girl with Curious Hair, the character Julie Smith
competes and wins on every
Jeopardy! game for three years (a total of
700 episodes) and then uses her winnings to pay for the care of
her brother, who suffers from autism.
The Ellen's Energy Adventure attraction at Epcot's Universe of Energy
pavilion featured a dream sequence in which
Ellen DeGeneres plays a
Jeopardy! game entirely focused on energy.
Fleming makes a cameo appearance reprising his role as host of
Jeopardy! in the 1982 film Airplane II: The Sequel.
The music video "I Lost on Jeopardy", a parody of Greg Kihn's 1983 hit
song "Jeopardy", was released by
"Weird Al" Yankovic
"Weird Al" Yankovic in 1984, a few
months before Trebek's version debuted; the video featured cameos
from Fleming, Pardo, Kihn, and Dr. Demento.
Main article: Merchandise based on Jeopardy!
Over the years, the
Jeopardy! brand has been licensed for various
products. From 1964 through 1976,
Milton Bradley issued annual board
games based on the original Fleming version. The Trebek version has
been adapted into board games released by Pressman Toy Corporation,
Tyco Toys, and Parker Brothers. In addition,
Jeopardy! has been
adapted into a number of video games released on various consoles and
handhelds spanning multiple hardware generations, starting with a
Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System game released in 1987. The show has
also been adapted for personal computers (starting in 1987 with Apple
II, Commodore 64, and
DOS versions), Facebook, Twitter,
Android, and the
Roku Channel Store.
A DVD titled Jeopardy!: An Inside Look at America's Favorite Quiz
Show, released by
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on November 8,
2005, features five memorable episodes of the Trebek version (the 1984
premiere, Jennings' final game, and the three finals matches of the
Ultimate Tournament of Champions) and three featurettes
discussing the show's history and question selection process.
Other products featuring the
Jeopardy! brand include a collectible
watch, a series of daily desktop calendars, and various slot machine
games for casinos and the Internet.
Jeopardy!'s official website, active as early as 1998, receives
over 400,000 monthly visitors. The website features videos,
photographs, and other information related to each week's contestants,
as well as mini-sites promoting remote tapings and special
tournaments. As the show changes its main title card and corresponding
graphics with every passing season, the
Jeopardy! website is
re-skinned to reflect the changes, and the general content of the site
(such as online tests and promotions, programming announcements,
"spotlight" segments, photo galleries, and downloadable content) is
regularly updated to align with producers' priorities for the
show. In its 2012 "Readers Choice Awards",
About.com praised the
Jeopardy! website for featuring "everything [visitors] need
to know about the show, as well as some fun interactive elements", and
for having a humorous error page.
In November 2009,
Jeopardy! launched a viewer loyalty program called
Jeopardy! Premier Club", which allowed home viewers to identify
Jeopardy! categories from episodes for a chance to earn points,
and play a weekly
Jeopardy! game featuring categories and clues from
the previous week's episodes. Every three months, contestants were
selected randomly to advance to one of three quarterly online
tournaments; after these tournaments were played, the three highest
scoring contestants would play one final online tournament for the
chance to win $5,000 and a trip to Los Angeles to attend a taping of
Jeopardy! The Premier Club was discontinued by July 2011.
There is an unofficial
Jeopardy! fansite known as the "J! Archive"
(j-archive.com), which transcribes games from throughout Jeopardy!'s
daily syndicated history. In the archive, episodes are covered by
Jeopardy!-style game boards with panels which, when hovered over with
a mouse, reveal the correct response to their corresponding clues and
the contestant who gave the correct response. The site makes use of a
"wagering calculator" that helps potential contestants determine what
amount is safest to bet during Final Jeopardy!, and an alternative
scoring method called "Coryat scoring" that disregards wagering during
Daily Doubles or Final
Jeopardy! and gauges one's general strength at
the game. The site's main founding archivist is Robert Knecht Schmidt,
a student from Cleveland, Ohio, who himself appeared as a
Jeopardy! contestant in March 2010. Before J! Archive, there was
Jeopardy! fansite known as the "Jeoparchive", created by
season 19 contestant Ronnie O'Rourke, who managed and updated the site
until Jennings's run made her disillusioned with the show.
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Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jeopardy!
Look up Jeopardy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jeopardy!.
Jeopardy! (original series) on IMDb
Jeopardy! (current series) on IMDb
Jeopardy! on IMDb
Jeopardy! at TV.com
Jeopardy!-related interview videos at the Archive of American
The $25,000 Pyramid
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
The Price Is Right
The Price Is Right
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
Win Ben Stein's Money
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
The Price Is Right
The Price Is Right
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
The Price Is Right
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
2011 – 2012
Tied with Wheel of Fortune in 2011
The Price Is Right
The Price Is Right
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
The Price Is Right
Tournament of Champions
Ultimate Tournament of Champions
Battle of the Decades
Notable references in culture
"I Lost on Jeopardy"
"What Is... Cliff Clavin?"
White Men Can't Jump
Jeopardy! (Saturday Night Live)
"Miracle on Evergreen Terrace"
"Little Expressionless Animals"
"I Take Thee Quagmire"
Ellen's Energy Adventure
Rock & Roll Jeopardy!
List of notable contestants
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show
Hollywood Squares (1975)
The $20,000 Pyramid (1976)
Family Feud (1977)
Hollywood Squares (1978)
Hollywood Squares (1979)
Hollywood Squares / The $20,000 Pyramid (1980)
The $20,000 Pyramid (1981)
Password Plus (1982)
The $25,000 Pyramid (1983)
The $25,000 Pyramid (1984)
The $25,000 Pyramid (1985)
The $25,000 Pyramid (1986)
The $25,000 Pyramid (1987)
The Price Is Right (1988)
The $25,000 Pyramid (1989)
The Price Is Right (1996)
The Price Is Right (1997)
Win Ben Stein's Money
Win Ben Stein's Money (1999)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (2000)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (2001)
The Price Is Right (2004)
The Price Is Right (2007)
Cash Cab (2008)
Cash Cab (2009)
Cash Cab (2010)
Jeopardy! / Wheel of Fortune (2011)
The Price Is Right (2013)
The Price Is Right (2016