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, and is still airing, making it by
far the program's most successful incarnation.
NBC versions and the weekly syndicated version were hosted by
Art Fleming .
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 as announcer.
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' 33rd season premiered on September 12,
* 1 Gameplay
* 1.1 First two rounds
* 1.2 Final
* 1.3 Winnings
* 1.4 Returning champions
* 1.5 Variations for tournament play
* 2 Conception and development
* 3 Personnel
* 3.1 Hosts and announcers
* 3.2 Clue Crew
* 3.3 Production staff
* 4 Production
* 4.1 Set
* 4.2 Theme music
* 4.3 Audition process
* 5 Broadcast history
* 5.1 Archived episodes
* 6 Reception
* 7 Tournaments and other events
* 7.1 Regular events
* 8 Record holders
* 9 Other media
* 9.1 Portrayals and parodies
* 9.2 Merchandise
* 9.3 Internet
* 10 References
* 10.1 Bibliography
* 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 the original
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
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 responds correctly or does not know, 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 aloud.
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 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
A "Daily Double" is hidden behind one clue in the
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
Jeopardy! games, contestants
with a $0 or negative score are given $1,000 for the Final Jeopardy!
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 enter
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 Centrum.
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.
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. No regular game has ended in a tie-breaker since its
adoption. However, numerous tournament games have ended with a
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
(1990 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 enough
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 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
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
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 Williams.
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, and Ed
Flesh (who also designed sets for other game shows such as The $25,000
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
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
Hollywood Center 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
California , where the show has been recorded ever since.
Various sets used by the syndicated version over the years. From
top to bottom: 1984–85, 1985–91, 1991–96, 1996–2002,
2002–09, and 2009–13.
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
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 in
Las Vegas Valley ),
Nevada , and became the primary set
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.
Jeopardy! opened with "January, February, March" and
closed with "Frisco Disco", both of which were composed by Griffin
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
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
Jeopardy! music package for the show's 25th
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 in an interview.
Neither named a particular law or regulation, and
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 season.
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
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.
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 International
Three spin-off versions of
Jeopardy! have been created. Rock the show
centered around post-1950s popular music trivia and was hosted by Jeff
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 sports
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
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 Center's holdings.
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
In 1989, Fleming expressed dissatisfaction with the daily syndicated
Jeopardy! series in an exhaustive 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 for having questions he thought were
"much too easy" and for awarding cash winnings only to the champion,
never to runners-up. Fleming concluded, "It's not part of the real
world. It's part of
Jeopardy! 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
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
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 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 history.
Jeopardy!'s answer-and-question format has become widely entrenched:
Art Fleming observed that other game shows would have contestants
"giving their answers in the form of a question", leading hosts "to
remind them they are not on Jeopardy!".
TOURNAMENTS AND OTHER EVENTS
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 $75,000
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
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 contestants in
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
Jeopardy! series 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
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
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 the IBM
Challenge , and the $100,000 second-place prize in the Battle of the
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 Jennings and 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
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 .
Three 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
Benjamin Salisbury , on a Celebrity
Jeopardy! episode that
aired April 30, 1997; and the third was
Brandi Chastain , on the
Jeopardy! episode that aired February 9, 2001.
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 voice-over.
* 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.
* In the
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
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
* 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
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
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
Dying Young ,
The Education of Max Bickford , The Bucket List
, Groundhog Day ,
Predator 2 , and
Finding Forrester .
* In the
David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace short story "Little Expressionless
Animals ", first published in
The Paris Review and later reprinted in
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
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 in
1984, a few months before Trebek's version debuted; the video
featured cameos from Fleming, Pardo, Kihn, and
Dr. Demento .
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 game released in 1987. The show has
also been adapted for personal computers (starting in 1987 with Apple
Commodore 64 , and
DOS versions ),
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
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
About.com praised the official
Jeopardy! website for
featuring "everything 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 an earlier
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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