Former Jeopardy champion Ray Lalonde explains to a local newspaper the duty of the on-set cop to ensure the game is properly randomized.
Ray Lalonde is ready to dish on the inner workings of the best game show out there. The Jeopardy champion who won 13 games and over $300,000 ended his historic run at the start of the year and recently sat down with Toronto Life to detail some behind-the-scenes info about the historic game show and his epic win streak.
During his interview, Lalonde let it slip that an on-set officer is responsible for choosing who plays, not the host Ken Jennings, stating “They have a game show cop on set who draws the names for who’s going to play and what the categories are going to be that day.”
During the interview, Lalonde explained some of the ins and outs of Jeopardy that most fans never get to see, including how the buzzers work, contestant interactions off camera, and insight into the minutiae of the game.
Expectedly, he explained that the lights and the pressure of the viewing audience caused him to trip over his words or make mistakes from time to time more so than the difficulty of the questions. Furthermore, Ray expressed that his biggest Achilles heal on Jeopardy was the functionality of the button.
Apparently, Jeopardy producers coach the contestants on how to properly utilize the buzzer during a practice round that takes place before the taping. During this process, the contestants aren’t given much time if any to interact with the host as a measure to prevent any possible rigging attempts or conflict of interest. Lalonde revealed that there is a light on each contestant board that is not visible to the home audience, that indicates when a question, or rather, an answer, is finished, and contestants are penalized when they buzz too early, with a half-second lockout.
“They actually coach you on the buzzer during the practice round. There is a light beside the board that turns on when the question is finished. If you buzz before it goes on, you’re locked out for a half-second, which can make all the difference.”Ray Lalonde explaining the importance of Jeopardy’s buzzers
Lalonde says this half-second penalty could make a world of difference, causing some players to lose points, or even lose the whole game. He also shed some light on his swaying habit, as some fans have pointed out online, which is a result of a medical condition regarding his spine.
Very little is known about this so-called Jeopardy cop at this time besides the responsibility of drawing names, but Lalonde’s interview seems to have outed the process to a ravenous base of knowledge-hungry game show fans, yearning to learn more about the identity of this mysterious law enforcement figure. Questions gnaw at viewers like the answered questions on the Jeopardy board haunt the nightmares of past contestants.
When asked if he was heartbroken about his ultimate loss after 13 games, Lalonde simply stated that he enjoyed the ride and took it one day at a time, and expressed gratitude for making it as far as he did, while thanking the fans and the crew of the show.