Jeopardy! showrunner Michael Davies says the new season of the popular quiz show will be a little different amid the ongoing writers’ strike. Speaking on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast via The Hollywood Reporter, he revealed that season 40 would continue with its fall premiere but with recycled contestants and questions.
With no new questions due to the writers’ strike, the upcoming Jeopardy! season will start with a second chance tournament for contestants from season 37 and 38 who initially lost.
“I believe, principally, that it would not be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek stage, doing it with non-original material, or as we’ll talk about, a combination of non-original material and material that was written pre-strike,” Davies said about the upcoming season of Jeopardy!
“So we decided that really we needed to invite back and give a second chance in general to players who probably thought that their chance to come back and play on the Alex Trebek stage had gone forever,” the Jeopardy! showrunner continued. As such, the upcoming season will begin with a second chance tournament designed for contestants from season 37 who initially lost.
Those who win in this tournament will then progress to a special Jeopardy! event called the Champions Wild Card, involving winners from seasons 37 and 38. Since early May, the show’s writers have been striking after failed contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. When the WGA strike concludes, Davies explained that the season 39 post-season will follow.
“I believe, principally, that it would not be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek stage, doing it with non-original material, or as we’ll talk about, a combination of non-original material and material that was written pre-strike.”Jeopardy! showrunner Michael Davies
This will culminate in the Tournament of Champions. Davies also pointed out that for the initial Jeopardy! episodes featuring contestants from seasons 37 and 38, the questions will be a mix of content written by WGA writers before the strike and material taken from various previous seasons of the show. Celebrity Jeopardy! is set to make a return with new content, as it was finished before the strike.
The annual Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions will be postponed and recorded after the resolution of the writers’ strike. Davies also revealed that once regular Jeopardy! episodes return, the second and third-place prize money will be raised by an additional $1,000 each, resulting in amounts of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.
Despite the inconvenience of having to reshuffle the Jeopardy! the line-up, Davies expressed his deep respect for its writers, emphasizing their importance to the show. “I admire and miss our writers,” he said. “They are beloved and valued members of the Jeopardy! team, just as they value every other member of our team. This really is a family who made this show.”
Information about the hosts for Jeopardy! September’s comeback remains unknown. In May, Mayim Bialik, who alternates hosting duties with Ken Jennings, opted out of manning the podium of the final episodes of season 39 in solidarity with striking writers. Production of the last set of episodes proceeded as planned, with Jennings assuming the role of host.
“So we decided that really we needed to invite back and give a second chance in general to players who probably thought that their chance to come back and play on the Alex Trebek stage had gone forever.”Michael Davies
Bialik, a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), is widely recognized for her acting work. She notably portrayed Blossom in the 1990s NBC series, played Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, and starred as the lead character in Call Me Kat, which recently concluded its third season on Fox.
Despite the dilemma posed by the strike, Jeopardy! holds the distinction of being the most-watched syndicated program, attracting approximately 9 million viewers each week. Additionally, it ranks as the second most-watched same-day entertainment show on television, trailing only behind 60 Minutes.
For more than three decades, Jeopardy! has been broadcast on ABC-owned television stations in major markets, and it currently airs on multiple ABC stations. Those in the top four markets include WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, and WPVI in Philadelphia.
Furthermore, the network recently confirmed the renewal of Jeopardy! for an additional five-year period.