Jeopardy! Season 28 titlecard.jpg
Title for Season 28 (2011–2012)
Genre Game show
Created by Merv Griffin
Directed by Bob Hultgren (1964–1971)[1]
Eleanor Tarshis (1971–1972)
Jeffrey L. Goldstein (1972–1975, 1978)
Dick Schneider (1978–1979, 1984–1992)
Kevin McCarthy (1992–present)
Creative director(s) John Pritchett (1997–1999)
Presented by Art Fleming (1964–1975, 1978–1979)
Alex Trebek (1984–present)
Narrated by Don Pardo (1964–1975)
John Harlan (1978–1979)
Johnny Gilbert (1984–present)
Theme music composer Julann Griffin (1964–1975)
Merv Griffin (1978–1979, 1984–1997)
Steve Kaplan (1997–2008)
Chris Bell Music, Inc. (2008–present)
Opening theme "Take Ten" (1964–1975)
"Frisco Disco" (1978–1979)
"Think!" (1984–present)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes NBC (1964–1975): 2,753
Syndicated (1974–1975): 39
NBC (1978–1979): 108[2]
Syndicated (1984–present): 6,140 (as of July 29, 2011)
Total: 9,040
Executive producer(s) Robert H. Rubin (1973–1975)
Merv Griffin (1984–2000)
Harry Friedman (1999–present)
Producer(s) Robert H. Rubin (1964–1973)
Lynette Williams (1973–1975)
George Vosburgh (1978–1979, 1987–1997)
Alex Trebek (1984–1987)
Harry Friedman (1997–1999)
Lisa Finneran (1997–2006)
Rocky Schmidt (1997–2006)
Gary Johnson (2000–2006)[3]
Deb Dittman (2006–present)
Brett Schneider (2006–present)
Editor(s) Billy Wisse
Location(s) NBC Studios
New York, New York (1964–1975)
NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1978–1979)
Metromedia Square
Hollywood, California (1984–1985)
Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California (1985–1994)
Sony Pictures Studios
Culver City, California (1994–present)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–26 minutes
Production company(s) Merv Griffin Productions (1964–1975, 1978–1979)
Merv Griffin Enterprises (1984–1994)
Columbia TriStar Television (1994–2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
Califon Productions, Inc. (1978–1979)
Jeopardy Productions, Inc. (1984–present)
Distributor Metromedia Producers Corporation (1974–1975)
King World Productions (1984–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
Original channel NBC (1964–1975, 1978–1979)
Syndicated (1974–1975, 1984–present)
Picture format 480i (SDTV) (1984–2006)
720p & 1080i (HDTV) (2006–present)
Audio format Mono (1964–1980)
Stereo (1984–present)
Original run NBC Daytime
March 30, 1964 (1964-03-30)[4]–January 3, 1975 (1975-01-03)
Weekly Syndication
September 9, 1974 (1974-09-09)–September 5, 1975 (1975-09-05)
NBC Daytime
October 2, 1978 (1978-10-02)–March 2, 1979 (1979-03-02)
Daily Syndication
September 10, 1984 (1984-09-10) – present
Renewed through 2013–2014 season[5]
External links

Jeopardy! is an American quiz show featuring trivia in history, literature, the arts, pop culture, science, sports, geography, wordplay, and more. The show has a unique answer-and-question format in which contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in question form.

The show has a decades-long broadcast history in the United States since its creation by Merv Griffin in 1964. It debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964, and the series was part of the network's daytime lineup until January 3, 1975. On September 9, 1974, a weekly nighttime syndicated edition of Jeopardy! debuted; this series ran concurrently with the NBC series until its final episode and continued to air on local stations until September 5, 1975. A revival of the daytime series debuted on October 2, 1978 and ran until March 2, 1979. All three of these versions of Jeopardy! were hosted by Art Fleming, with Don Pardo serving as announcer for the original NBC series, and John Harlan announcing the 1978 revival.

On September 10, 1984, Jeopardy! returned as a daily syndicated series with Alex Trebek as host and Johnny Gilbert as announcer. This version of Jeopardy! has been adapted for international markets.

The current version of the show is produced by Sony Pictures Television (the successor company to original producer Merv Griffin Enterprises) and is distributed on television by CBS Television Distribution (the successor to original distributor King World Productions). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment owns the rights to distribute the program on DVD, though it has only released a five-episode collection featuring some of the most memorable episodes of the current run. Jeopardy!'s 28th season premiered on September 19, 2011.[6]


According to Merv Griffin, the idea for Jeopardy! began when he and his wife Julann were on a plane trip from Duluth, Minnesota to New York:

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.[7]

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 be shown on camera easily, he reduced it to two rounds of thirty clues each, with five clues in each of six categories. Taking inspiration from horse racing, he also decided to add three "Daily Doubles," clues in which a contestant could wager his or her money. Griffin discarded his original name for the show, What's the Question?, after a network executive suggested that the game "need[ed] more jeopardies."[8]


Three contestants compete in three rounds: the Jeopardy! Round, the Double Jeopardy! Round, and the Final Jeopardy! Round. If there is a returning champion, he or she occupies the leftmost lectern from the viewer's perspective.

Jeopardy! Round

Six categories are announced, each with a column of five trivia clues (phrased in answer form), each one incrementally valued more than the previous, ostensibly by difficulty. The subjects range from standard topics including history and current events, the sciences, the arts, popular culture, literature and languages,[9] to pun-laden titles (many of which refer to the standard subjects), wordplay categories, and even sets of categories with a common theme.

The value of each clue within categories has increased over time (with Super Jeopardy! values in points rather than dollars):

1964–1975 1978–1979 1984–2001 2001–present Super Jeopardy!
$10 $25 $100 $200 200
$20 $50 $200 $400 400
$30 $75 $300 $600 600
$40 $100 $400 $800 800
$50 $125 $500 $1,000 1,000

The contestant at the leftmost lectern from the viewer's perspective—the returning champion during non-tournament games—selects the first clue from any position on the game board, and the selected clue is revealed. The host then reads the clue, after which any of the three contestants may ring-in using a hand-held signaling device. The first contestant to ring-in successfully, following the host's reading of the clue, must then respond in the form of a question.

A correct response adds the dollar value of the clue to the contestant's score, and gives them the opportunity to select the next clue from the board. An incorrect response or a failure to respond within a five-second time limit (shown by the red lights on the contestant's lectern) deducts the dollar value of the clue from the contestant's score and gives any remaining opponent(s) the opportunity to ring-in and respond. If none of the contestants give a correct response, the host reads the correct response and the contestant who selected the previous clue chooses the next clue.

Daily Doubles

One clue hidden on the Jeopardy! Round game board is designated a "Daily Double". Only the contestant who selects a Daily Double may respond to its clue, and make a wager no smaller than $5 on it.[10] If the contestant has a score of less than the highest dollar value in the round, he or she may wager up to that top value; alternatively, the contestant may choose to "make it a true Daily Double" and wager all of his or her score. A contestant who has less than $1,000 in the Jeopardy! Round may wager a maximum of $1,000; one who has less than $2,000 in Double Jeopardy! may wager up to $2,000.

Daily Doubles are occasionally designated with special tags, such as "Audio Daily Double" or "Video Daily Double," in which an audio or video clip is played along with the clue. Such tags are displayed as soon as the Daily Double has been revealed.


Contestants must wait until the host finishes reading the clue before ringing in; doing so before this point locks the contestant out for one fourth of a second.[11] Lights mounted around the game board illuminate to indicate when contestants may ring-in, and the contestant has five seconds to offer a response. Additionally, a tone sounds in conjunction with the illuminated lights on episodes that feature visually impaired contestants.

Prior to 1985, contestants were able to ring in at any time after the clue had been revealed, and a buzzer would sound whenever someone rang in. According to Trebek, the buzzer sound was "distracting to the viewers" and sometimes presented problems, as contestants would inadvertently ring-in too soon, or ring in so quickly that by the time he finished reading the clue, the contestant's five-second limit had expired.[12] He also said that, by not allowing anyone to ring in until the clue was finished, home viewers could play along more easily, and faster contestants would be less likely to dominate the game.[12]

Phrasing and judging

All responses must be phrased in the form of a question. For example, a contestant might select "Presidents for $200," and the resulting clue might be "The Father of Our Country; he didn't really chop down a cherry tree," to which the contestant would respond "Who is George Washington?" Griffin had originally intended for the phrasing to be grammatically correct (e.g., not accepting any phrasing other than "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.[13]

During the Jeopardy! Round, contestants are not penalized for forgetting to phrase a response in the form of a question, although the host will remind contestants to watch their phrasing on future clues. During the Double Jeopardy! Round, or on Daily Doubles (regardless of the round), adherence to the phrasing rule is followed more strictly, but contestants are still permitted to correct themselves before their time runs out.

At times, the show's producers may determine that a response previously given by a contestant was wrongly ruled correct or incorrect. When this happens, 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.[14]

Double Jeopardy! Round

The second round, Double Jeopardy!, is played largely like the first round. In it, a new set of categories is revealed, and the value of each clue is doubled (except during Super Jeopardy!, see below). In addition, Double Jeopardy! has two Daily Doubles on the board instead of one. The contestant with the lowest amount of money at the end of the Jeopardy! Round makes the first selection in Double Jeopardy! If there is a tie for second place or a three-way tie for first place, the contestant with the tied score standing at the left-most lectern selects first.

The value of each clue within categories has increased over time:

1964–1975 1978–1979 1984–2001 2001–present Super Jeopardy!
$20 $50 $200 $400 500
$40 $100 $400 $800 1,000
$60 $150 $600 $1,200 1,500
$80 $200 $800 $1,600 2,000
$100 $250 $1,000 $2,000 2,500

Finishing Double Jeopardy! with $0 or a negative score

Contestants who finish Double Jeopardy! with $0 or a negative score are not allowed to participate in the game's final round, Final Jeopardy! Instead, they leave the game and receive the third place prize, which has been $1,000 since May 16, 2002.[15] On episodes of Celebrity Jeopardy!, in which celebrities compete against each other for charity, contestants are granted nominal scores ($1,000) to compete in Final Jeopardy! should their score fall below $0. These episodes also feature a "house minimum" of $25,000. On at least one Fleming-hosted episode, all three contestants finished Double Jeopardy! with $0 or less, and as a result, no Final Jeopardy! round was played that day.[16]

Final Jeopardy! Round

The answer board (Season 19–22 Jeopardy! set).
The contestants' lecterns, from a version of the set used from 1986 to 1991. The contestant on the left is five-time champion Richard Cordray, who later became Director of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Obama Administration.

A category is announced by the host followed by a commercial break. During the break, barriers are placed between the contestants and contestants are asked to make one final wager (between $0 and their total score), writing it down. After the final commercial break, the Final Jeopardy! clue is revealed and read by the host. The contestants have thirty seconds to write a response, again phrased in the form of a question. During the time in which the contestants write their response, the iconic "Think!" music plays in the background. Since 1984, contestants use a light pen to write down their Final Jeopardy! wager and response.[17] Contestants giving the correct response are awarded the value of their wager. Those that fail to come up with the correct response or phrase their response in the form of a question (even if the response itself is correct) have that amount subtracted from their score.

Final Jeopardy! betting has been discussed by mathematicians as an exercise in game theory.[18]

Tiebreaker Round

During tournaments, if two or more contestants are tied for first place at the conclusion of Final Jeopardy!, a one-question tiebreaker round is played. The tied contestants are presented with a category and the clue is then revealed. The contestant who rings-in and provides the correct response becomes the champion and moves on to the next round of play. Contestants are not eliminated from play for providing an incorrect response.

If two or more contestants are tied for first place following Final Jeopardy! during non-tournament play, both (or all three) are declared co-champions and appear on the next episode.

Cash prizes

The top scorer on each show keeps his or her winnings and returns as the champion in the next match, and non-winners receive consolation prizes. The current prizes are $2,000 for the second-place contestant and $1,000 for the third-place contestant. Since the show does not provide airfare or lodging for most contestants,[19] these cash consolation prizes alleviate the financial burden of appearing on the show. Prior to May 16, 2002, the second-place contestant typically received a vacation package or merchandise and the third-place contestant received lesser-value merchandise. Prior to 1984, all contestants kept their winnings, and contestants who finished with scores below $0 received consolation prizes.

When the 1984 version began, the show's creators decided to award full winnings only to the champion as a means of making the game more competitive, so that the final outcome is not always evident until the end of the game. On the Fleming version, contestants would occasionally decide that they only wanted to win a certain amount of money, and stop ringing-in when they reached that amount, instead of attempting to become a returning champion. Others would refuse to write down a question for Final Jeopardy! if another contestant had a significant lead.[20]

Returning champions

74-time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, who has won a total of $3,172,700 on the show, and holds the all-time records for total game show earnings.

If no contestant finishes Final Jeopardy! with a positive total, nobody wins and three new contestants appear on the following show. In such cases, the three new contestants participate in a backstage draw to determine their positions at the contestant lecterns. This happened once on the second episode of the current run, on September 11, 1984,[21] and most recently on June 12, 1998.[22]

If two or three contestants tie for first place, they are declared co-champions; each keeps his or her winnings and comes back on the following episode. Three contestants have each finished two consecutive games as co-champions.[23]

A three-way tie for first place has only occurred once since 1984,[24] and only one contestant from the same period has won a game with the lowest amount possible, $1.[25]

Special considerations are also given for contestants who are unable to return as champion for medical reasons. This occurred for the first time in Season 25: three new contestants appeared on the January 19, 2009 episode, owing to the previous show's champion, Priscilla Ball, taking ill. At the top of the episode Alex Trebek explained that in such a case, the contestant would return at a later date as a co-champion.[26] Ball returned on the episode that aired April 9, 2009.

Until 2003, a contestant who won five consecutive days retired undefeated, with a guaranteed spot in the next Tournament of Champions; three new contestants would appear on the following show. From 1997 until 2001, an undefeated champion was also awarded his or her choice of Chevrolet cars or trucks. From 2001 to 2003, the winner won a Jaguar X-Type. Similarly, as part of the deal with Ford Motor Company for the 2001–2002 season, Ford also added a Volvo to the Teen Tournament prize package.[27]

From 1984 until 1990, champions kept all winnings up to a limit of $75,000; any amount above that was donated to a charity of the champion's choice. The limit was increased to $100,000 in 1990, after Bob Blake ($82,501) and Frank Spangenberg ($102,597) exceeded the old amount, and raised again to $200,000 in 1997.

In September 2003, with the start of Season 20, the show eliminated both the five-episode limit on returning champions and the total cash winnings limit. Champions can now remain on the program indefinitely until defeated, although champions who appear on five or more consecutive episodes no longer receive an automobile. The most successful returning champion after this rule change was implemented is Ken Jennings, who won seventy-four consecutive games from June 2 through November 30, 2004 and amassed a total of $2,520,700, breaking several records for both Jeopardy! and American game shows in general.

Other versions

Throughout the original NBC and 1984 syndicated runs of Jeopardy!, several versions of the show have been broadcast in the United States.

The first was a weekly syndicated series, which aired during the 1974–1975 season; except for some minor changes in gameplay, this version was essentially similar to the original NBC series. A short-lived revival aired on NBC during the 1978–1979 season as The All New Jeopardy! with a number of changes in the rules — most notably, progressive elimination of the lowest-scoring contestants through the course of the main game, and a new bonus round as a replacement for Final Jeopardy! Later came Rock & Roll Jeopardy!, a music-intensive version of Jeopardy! that aired on VH1 from 1998 to 2001, and Jep!, which aired on GSN from 1998 to 1999 and featured pre-teen contestants.

Tournaments and events

Starting in 1985, a Tournament of Champions has been held more or less annually, featuring the top fifteen champions and other biggest winners who have appeared on the show since the last tournament. The tournament runs for ten consecutive episodes in a format devised by Alex Trebek.[28] A top prize of $250,000 is awarded to the winner.

Beginning in 1992, Celebrity Jeopardy! has featured celebrities and other notable individuals competing for charitable organizations of their choice. The 2009–2010 season included the Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational played throughout the season, with twenty-seven celebrity contestants competing for a grand prize of $1,000,000 for their charity.

First aired in 1987, the Teen Tournament features competition between fifteen high school students, with the winner receiving $75,000 and, in some years, a new car. Until 2001, the winner was also invited to participate in the Tournament of Champions.

Beginning in 1989, the College Championship features college students competing for a $100,000 prize. The tournament pits fifteen full-time undergraduate students from colleges and universities in the United States against one another in a two-week tournament, identical in format to the Tournament of Champions. The winner is also invited to participate in the next Tournament of Champions. From 1997–2008, the College Championship was taped on location at college campuses.

Ten Seniors Tournaments were held for a top prize of $25,000 (or the contestant's two-game total, whichever was greater) between 1987 and 1995. The tournaments featured contestants over the age of 50. Typically this tournament aired as the last two weeks of a season prior to a six-week-long summer break, with the winner earning an invitation to the next Tournament of Champions. Since the last Seniors Tournament in December 1995, contestants older than 50 years regularly appear on the program in non-tournament games.

There have been a number of special tournaments featuring the greatest contestants during the history of Jeopardy! The first of these "all-time best" tournaments, Super Jeopardy! aired in the summer of 1990 on ABC. It featured 37 top contestants who had competed on the program from 1984–1990, plus one notable champion from the original 1964–1975 version, all competing for a top prize of $250,000. In 1993, a Tenth Anniversary Tournament was conducted over five episodes and aired following the conclusion of that year's regular Tournament of Champions. In May 2002, to commemorate the Trebek version's 4,000th episode, the show invited fifteen champions to play for a $1 million bonus, in the Million Dollar Masters tournament, which took place at Radio City Music Hall. The Ultimate Tournament of Champions aired in 2005 and pitted 154 former Jeopardy! champions against each other, with two winners moving on to face Ken Jennings in a three-game final for a $2 million top prize, the largest in the show's history. Overall, the tournament spanned 76 shows.

In November 1998, contestants from the 1987, 1988, and 1989 Teen Tournaments (including the champions) were invited to Boston to play in a special Teen Reunion Tournament. Jeopardy! celebrated its landmark 25th anniversary season by holding a special Kids Week Reunion tournament featuring 15 former Kids Week alumni from the 1999 and 2000 Kids Weeks competing against each other.

The IBM Challenge, aired February 14–16, 2011, featured IBM's Watson computer facing off against two former Jeopardy! champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, in a two-game match played over three shows.[29] This was the first man-vs.-machine competition in Jeopardy!'s history.[30] Watson locked up the first game and the match to win $1 million, which IBM divided between two charities. Jennings, who won $300,000 for second place, and Rutter, who won the $200,000 third-place prize, both pledged to donate half their winnings to charity.[31] The competition brought the show its highest ratings since the Ultimate Tournament of Champions.[32]

Held in May 2011 to honor Jeopardy!'s 6,000th episode, the inaugural Teachers Tournament featured fifteen teachers competing for $100,000 in a format identical to the Tournament of Champions. The winner also received a spot in the next Tournament of Champions.[33]

Audition process

Jeopardy! Brain Bus

In the 1964–1975 version, prospective contestants called the Jeopardy! office in New York to arrange an appointment and to preliminarily determine eligibility. Prospective contestants were briefed and auditioned together in groups of ten to thirty individuals, participating in both a written test and mock games. Following the audition, successful contestants were invited to appear on the program within approximately six weeks.[34]

Since 1984, prospective contestants are given a fifty-question written exam. The questions cover various topics (including traditional academic information, popular culture, lifestyle and wordplay categories), and the number of questions in each topic has been modified throughout the years. Those who pass the exam by correctly answering at least thirty-five questions advance in the audition process and compete in mock games.

Contestant searches for the current syndicated version were initially only held in southern California but have been conducted regionally (sponsored by local affiliates that air the program) since 1985. Invitations to audition were originally awarded by postcard drawings and other types of contests.[35] Prospective contestants can now obtain the location of regional contestant searches or register to participate in an online test via the official website.

Internet screenings have also been conducted for prospective contestants that previously registered on the official website, with a random selection of those obtaining a passing score invited to participate in additional regional contestant searches.

Jeopardy! Brain Bus

The Jeopardy! Brain Bus is a 32-foot Winnebago vehicle that travels to regional locations to conduct contestant searches.[36] Attendees not wishing to compete for a chance to appear on the show can also play a shortened game of Jeopardy! for prizes such as t-shirts, hats, water bottles, etc., with the Jeopardy! logo.

Theme music

Since the debut of Jeopardy! in 1964, several different songs and arrangements have served as the theme music for the show, a majority of which have been composed by Merv Griffin. Starting in 1984, a rendition of the show's "Think!" music has also been used as the main theme song.[37]


Like the theme music, the Jeopardy! set has also changed over the years. The original game board was exposed from behind a curtain and featured the answers printed on pull cards which were revealed as contestants selected question values in each category. The cards were discarded for the 1978 version, replaced by flipping panels that had the dollar amount on one side and the clue on the other; the curtain was also replaced with double slide panels. When the show returned in 1984, the game board was replaced with individual monitors for each clue in a category. As technology has improved since then, the monitors have been upgraded accordingly. The original monitors were replaced in 1991 with larger and sleeker monitors. In 2006, these monitors were replaced with a nearly seamless projection video wall (which originally was used as part of the road show set).[38] In 2009, this video wall was replaced by thirty-six 42-inch high-definition flat-panel monitors.

Other aesthetic changes have been made to the set since the current syndicated version's premiere in 1984. Starting in 1985 and continuing until 1997, the sets were designed to have a background color of blue for Jeopardy! Rounds and red for Double Jeopardy! and Final 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 an entirely new set a second time by production designer Naomi Slodki. Slodki intended the set to resemble "the foyer of a very contemporary library".[39] Shortly after the start of Season 19 in 2002, Jeopardy! once again changed its set. This set was modified slightly in 2006 when Jeopardy! became one of the first game shows to air in high-definition. During this time, several virtual tours were featured on the official Jeopardy! web site.[40]

Between Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, the various HD improvements represented an investment of about $4 million, 5,000 labor hours and 6 miles of cable.[41] Both shows had been shot using HD cameras for several years prior to the upgrade. On standard-definition television broadcasts, the show continues to be displayed with an aspect ratio of 4:3.

A new set debuted with the Celebrity Jeopardy! and Tournament of Champions episodes taped in 2009 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This set became the primary set for Jeopardy! on September 14, 2009.[42]

Taping location

The original version of the show, hosted by Art Fleming, which debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964, was taped in Studio 6A at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.[43] In addition to Studio 6A, Studio 8G was also frequently used to record the show.

The 1978 version of the show, The All-New Jeopardy!, was taped from NBC Studio 3 in Burbank, California, with a set designed by Henry Lickel and Dennis Roof.[44]

When the syndicated Jeopardy! premiered in 1984, it was taped at Metromedia Stage 7, KTTV-TV, on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.[44] From 1985 to 1994, the show was taped at Hollywood Center Studios' Stage 9.

After the final shows of Season 10 were taped on February 15, 1994, production moved to Sony Pictures Studios' Stage 10 on Washington Boulevard in Culver City, California,[44] where the first shows of Season 11 were taped on July 12, 1994.

International adaptations

Countries with versions of Jeopardy!

Since the early days of Jeopardy!, versions of the show have been produced in foreign countries worldwide.

Episode status

Art Fleming

1964–1975, NBC

Only a small number of the 2,753 episodes from the original NBC Daytime version survive, mostly as black-and-white kinescopes of the original color videotapes.[45] Some episodes from 1967, 1971, and 1973–1974 exist in the UCLA Film and Television Archive while various episodes are at the Paley Center for Media (including the 1964 "test" episode). Incomplete paper records of the NBC-era games exist on microfilm at the Library of Congress.

After the original series ended, several NBC stations continued airing repeats for a few months in 1975 – including NBC-owned KNBC, according to TV Guide listings from that time.

Episodes #2,000 (from February 21, 1972) and #2,753 (the 1975 finale), along with a few others, are held by GSN. However, only the 2,000th episode has been rerun by the network.

1978–1979, NBC

GSN holds both the premiere and finale in broadcast quality, and aired the latter on December 31, 1999 as part of its "Y2Play" marathon. The UCLA Film and Television Archive holds a copy of a pilot taped for CBS in 1977, featuring a "sub-Round 1" in which each contestant "played solo" for 30 seconds (an incorrect response did not deduct from his or her score). Several other episodes exist among private collectors in varying degrees of quality.

Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek has hosted Jeopardy since 1984.

1984–present, syndicated

The Trebek version is completely intact, including both pilots. The first featured a set modeled after a computer, the 1978 series' logo and theme, and Jay Stewart as announcer. The second was shot on what eventually became the series' first set with Johnny Gilbert announcing and a different version of the show's theme. GSN, which like Jeopardy! is an affiliate of Sony Pictures Television, reran nine seasons between the channel's launch in 1994 and April 1, 2010.

There is a 67-game disparity between the show numbers assigned to first-run Jeopardy! episodes and the actual number of Trebek-era games played. To assist subscribing affiliate stations in airing episodes in the correct order, a show number is read by announcer Johnny Gilbert just prior to the taping of each game. This number is audible on the episodes as received by the affiliates and visible on the slate attached to them. The slate is trimmed from the show prior to broadcast. Each new episode receives an integer show number 1 greater than the previous episode; however, the 65 reruns in Season 1 (1984–1985) were given new show numbers despite not being new games; a retrospective clip show aired May 15, 2002 was credited as #4088; and a single game of The IBM Challenge against IBM's Watson computer was broadcast over two shows (#6086, #6087).[46][47]

1990, ABC

Super Jeopardy! is completely intact. However, only the finale has been rerun (on GSN as part of a special marathon) since the original broadcast.

Awards and honors

Jeopardy! has won a record 29 Daytime Emmy Awards since 1984. Eleven of these have been for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show. Another five awards have been won by host Alex Trebek for Outstanding Game Show Host. Twelve other Emmy Awards have been won by the show's directors and writers in separate categories until 2006, when the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Direction for a Game/Audience Participation Show (for the directors) and Outstanding Special Class Writing (which the show's writers competed for and won the award perennially) were merged into the Outstanding Game/Audience Participation show category. In 2011, Trebek was announced as one of the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards held on June 17, 2011.[48]

In January 2001, TV Guide ranked it #2 among the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time. Esquire magazine readers named it their "favorite game show", and in the summer of 2006, it was also ranked #2 by GSN on their list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time. The show holds the record for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show, with 12.[49]


The Jeopardy! brand was first merchandised into a board game during the original Art Fleming run of the show in the 1960s, and subsequent updated editions and themed variants of the Jeopardy! board game have been issued periodically ever since. The game has also been licensed to create video games and various other products, such as watches, scorekeeping devices, home-based or educational game systems, and slot machines.

Portrayal in other media

The show has been portrayed or parodied in numerous television shows, films, and works of literature over the years, frequently with one or more characters participating as contestants, or as a television show which the character(s) watch and play along with. The television series The Golden Girls, Mama's Family, The Nanny, and Cheers have all featured episodes wherein characters either audition for or appear on the show. Trebek also appeared as himself in an episode of the cartoon The Simpsons, where Marge Simpson appeared on a fictional version of the show.[50] Jeopardy! is also featured in a subplot of the movie White Men Can't Jump, with Rosie Perez' character attempting to pass the show's auditions.[51] In several films, including The Bucket List and Diner, a character's intelligence is demonstrated when he is shown watching Jeopardy! on television and guessing the correct response to every clue. In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character impresses other watchers of the show by correctly responding to every clue, some before they are even read.

Saturday Night Live has regularly parodied Jeopardy! as well, with a season 2 sketch entitled Jeopardy! 1999 (which parodied the Fleming version), and a recurring sketch called Celebrity Jeopardy!, which featured Will Ferrell as Trebek. Each Celebrity Jeopardy! skit also features a recurring antagonist as one of the guests, with Norm Macdonald portraying Burt Reynolds in the first three, and Darrell Hammond playing Sean Connery in all of the rest after Macdonald left the show, with Macdonald also making two return guest appearances as Reynolds.

The song "I Lost on Jeopardy," a parody of Greg Kihn's 1983 hit song "Jeopardy," was created by "Weird Al" Yankovic in 1984, shortly before Trebek's version debuted. Its music video featured cameos from Art Fleming and Don Pardo.

The show is the setting for the David Foster Wallace short story "Little Expressionless Animals," which was first published in The Paris Review, and was later reprinted in Wallace's collection Girl with Curious Hair. The story depicts the fictionalized three year Jeopardy! winning streak of Julie Smith.

In the Jodi Picoult novel Salem Falls, the game of Jeopardy! becomes part of a tense prison bet for protagonist Jack St. Bride, who is an avid watcher of the show. If he proves himself capable of supplying the correct answers before the contestants, he will be left alone by a fellow prisoner.

Clue Crew

Kelly Miyahara of the Clue Crew at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Clue Crew is a team of roving correspondents who tape videos from around the world to show alongside clues given during the show. The team currently comprises Jimmy McGuire, Kelly Miyahara, and Sarah Whitcomb. Formed in 2001, the team's goal is to showcase clues on the show that are accompanied by video. One of the show's executive producers, Harry Friedman, further explained their reasoning behind the formation of the team, noting "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." Over 5,000 people applied within weeks of the announcement of auditions for the Clue Crew. Former members include Sofia Lidskog, Cheryl Farrell, and Jon Cannon.[52]

The Clue Crew has traveled to over 200 cities worldwide, through 45 states in the United States, and to 33 countries. In addition to presenting video clues for Jeopardy!, the Clue Crew also travels to meet fans of the show, as well as future contestants. Occasionally, they visit schools to showcase the educational game, Classroom Jeopardy![53]

Notes and references

  1. ^ ""Jeopardy!" (1964)—Full cast and crew". IMDb. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Hosted By Game Show Great Charles Nelson Reilly, `Y2PLAY' To Air on GSN From 4:00 pm Through Midnight on Dec. 31, 1999". Business Wire. 1999-11-22. Retrieved September 28, 2008. ""Y2PLAY", an exclusive programming block of the final episodes of select game shows, is scheduled to air exclusively on Game Show Network (GSN) for New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 1999. Hosted by Charles Nelson Reilly, "Y2PLAY" features the classic and all-time favorite game shows of the 20th century from 4:00 pm through Midnight. Following is the program schedule for "Y2PLAY": ... 4:00 pm "Jeopardy!"/Art Fleming No. 108 -- Episode aired in 1979 -- this is the final "Jeopardy!" to be hosted by original host Art Fleming." 
  3. ^ Since 2006, Lisa Finneran, Rocky Schmidt, and Gary Johnson have been credited as the show's supervising producers.
  4. ^ David Schwartz, Steve Ryan & Fred Wostbrock, The Encyclopedia of TV Game $hows, Checkmark Books, 1999, pp. 112–115.
  5. ^
  6. ^ CBS PressExpress - CBS Television Distribution - Shows
  7. ^ Cynthia Lowry (March 29, 1964). "Merv Griffin: Question and Answer Man". Associated Press. Independent Star-News. 
  8. ^ Trebek and Barsocchini, pp. 2-3
  9. ^ Eisenberg, Harry (1993). Inside "Jeopardy!": What Really Goes on at TV's Top Quiz Show (first ed.). Salt Lake City, Utah: Northwest Publishing Inc.. ISBN 1-56901-177-X. 
  10. ^ The rules of the game may be found in the Jeopardy! DVD Home Game System instruction booklet. [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Richmond, Ray (2004). This is Jeopardy!: Celebrating America's Favorite Quiz Show. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. p. 41. ISBN 0-7607-5374-1. "The rules for contestants ringing-in changed following the 1984–85 season of Jeopardy!, during which contestants were allowed to ring-in as soon as the answer was exposed. It was altered to allow Alex Trebek to read the clues in their entirety before contestants could ring-in. Currently, those who ring in too early are penalized 250 milliseconds (1/4 second) each time they jump the gun." 
  12. ^ a b Trebek and Barsocchini, pp. 59–60
  13. ^ Trebek and Barsocchini, p. 4
  14. ^ Trebek and Barsocchini, p. 64
  15. ^ Show #4089
  16. ^ Fabe, Maxene (1979). TV Game Shows. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company. p. circa 271. ISBN 0-385-13052-X. 
  17. ^ Contestants are also provided with a pen and index card in the event of a malfunction with the light pen. The light pen is automatically turned off at the conclusion of the 30-second period. A keyboard with Braille keys is provided to visually impaired contestants.
  18. ^ See e.g. P.J. Dutta, Strategies and Games, p. xxix and K. D. Bergstresser, What is... game theory?
  19. ^ Airfare is provided for returning champions' subsequent flights to Los Angeles. Jennings, Ken (2006). Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs. p. 122. ISBN 1-4000-6445-7. "...from the contestant orientation: ...if you have to fly out more than once (for example if you keep winning), Jeopardy! at least pays for the additional plane ticket." 
  20. ^ Trebek and Barsocchini, p. 57
  21. ^ Retrieved on 2011-02-07
  22. ^ Retrieved on November 25, 2010
  23. ^ The three two-time co-champions were Dane Garrett in September 1985, Sara Cox in December 1990, and Dan Girard in July 1998. Richmond, page 47.
  24. ^ On the show aired March 16, 2007, all three contestants ended Final Jeopardy with $16,000. Jeopardy press announcement Retrieved on 2009-02-07
  25. ^ On the show aired January 19, 1993, Air Force Lt. Col. Darryl Scott won the game with only $1; he won another $13,401 the next day.
  26. ^ "J! Archive - Show #5611 - Monday, January 19, 2009". January 19, 2009. Retrieved February 11, 2009. 
  27. ^ Student captures prize at ‘Jeopardy!’ tournament
  28. ^ Eisenberg, first edition, page 75. "Alex put together the two week, fifteen contestant format used on the current show. We had 15 undefeated five-time champions the first season. In subsequent seasons we never had as many as 15 five-game winners so we added those four-game winners with the highest scores until we had the requisite 15 contestants for the Tournament."
  29. ^ Smartest Machine on Earth Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  30. ^ "IBM's "Watson" Computing System to Challenge All Time Greatest Jeopardy! Champions". December 14, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010. 
  31. ^ "(CNN) -- So far, it's elementary for Watson.". February 15, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
  32. ^ Albiniak, Paige (February 17, 2011). "IBM's Watson: 'Jeopardy!' Champ, Ratings Winner: Three days of Watson-based episodes drives 'Jeopardy!' to six-year highs". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 21, 2011. "Tuesday was the highest-rated of the three days, with Jeopardy! averaging a 9.5/17, the show's highest rating since May 25, 2005, which happened to also feature Jennings and Rutter facing each other in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions. ... On Monday, Watson drove Jeopardy! to an 8.7/16, the show's highest rating in four years, and on Wednesday, Jeopardy! earned a 9.1/17 and was the second-highest rated show on all of television, behind only Fox's American Idol at a 14.5." 
  33. ^ "'Jeopardy!' to Mark 6,000th Episode Milestone During Season 27". September 10, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  34. ^ Fleming, Art (1979), Art Fleming's TV Game Show Fact Book, Salt Lake City, Utah: Osmond Publishing Company, pp. 14–15, ISBN 0-89888-005-X 
  35. ^ Eisenberg, Harry (1993). Inside "Jeopardy!": What Really Goes on at TV's Top Quiz Show. Salt Lake City, Utah: Northwest Publishing Inc.. pp. 32–35. ISBN 1-56901-177-X. 
  36. ^ Richmond, Ray (2004). This is Jeopardy!: Celebrating America's Favorite Quiz Show. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. p. 170. ISBN 0-7607-5374-1. 
  37. ^ Trebek and Barsocchini, p. 10
  38. ^ Hibberd, James (August 10, 2006). "'Jeopardy!,' 'Wheel' Get HD Makeover". TV Week. Retrieved November 10, 2008. 
  39. ^ Richmond, page 150.
  40. ^ "2003 Jeopardy! set official web page". [dead link]
  41. ^ "Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune go hi def!". Sony Pictures Television. 2006-09-07. Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  42. ^ "This is Jeopardy!—Show Guide—Virtual Set Tour". Retrieved January 11, 2010. 
  43. ^ NBC daily broadcast log, Master Books microfilm. Library of Congress Motion Picture and Television Reading Room.
  44. ^ a b c Schwartz, David; Steve Ryan, Fred Wostbrock (January 1999). The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows (3rd edition ed.). Checkmark Books. ISBN 0816038473. 
  45. ^ Eisenberg, first edition, page 240.
  46. ^ See Richmond, page 188; Eisenberg, first edition, pages 30 and 106.
  47. ^ Rooshanak, Mir (February 17, 2011). "IBM’s Great Marketing Campaign: IBM Teams with Jeopardy! to Introduce Watson". UPrinting Small Business Blog. Retrieved February 25, 2011. "The first game of Jeopardy!, which was split among 2 days, got 8.8 and 9.5 overnight ratings on each respective night. The second game, which was shown in its entirety on the third and final episode, got a 9.1 rating." 
  48. ^ "The National Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Announces The 38th Annual Daytime Emmy® Award For Lifetime Achievement To Be Presented To Pat Sajak And Alex Trebek". Sony Pictures. March 21, 2011. Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
  49. ^ "Jeopardy!—Did You Know...". Retrieved September 16, 2008. "Since its 1984 syndication debut, Jeopardy! has been honored with 28 Daytime Emmy Awards, more than any other syndicated game show. Eleven Emmys have been for 'Outstanding Game Show/Audience Participation.' Alex Trebek has won four Daytime Emmy Awards for 'Outstanding Game Show Host.'" 
  50. ^ "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace". Retrieved May 1, 2009. 
  51. ^ Jennings, pp. 16–17.
  52. ^ Petrozzello, Donna (June 4, 2001). "Trebeks in Training Jeopardy! Auditions Roving Reps". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  53. ^ "Meet the "Jeopardy!" Clue Crew". Jeopardy!. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 

Further reading

  • Trebek, Alex; Peter Barsocchini; introduction by Merv Griffin (1990). The Jeopardy! Book. Harper Perennial. ISBN 9780060965112. 

External links

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