What will “Jeopardy!” do to pivot during the ongoing WGA strike?
The question becomes the answer in the classic show that kicks off its 40th season sans writing staff due to the strike. Executive producer Michael Davies confirmed during the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast that the new season will begin with another Second Chance Tournament featuring Seasons 37 and 38 former players, and reused questions from past games. The new season will start Monday, September 11.
“I believe, principally, that it would not be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek Stage and 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. “And 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. We’re going to have to go into a holding pattern.”
The questions will be a “combination of material that our WGA writers wrote before the strike, which is still in the database, and material that has been re-deployed from multiple seasons of the show,” per the EP.
As “Jeopardy!” co-host Mayim Bialik is a SAG member, fellow co-host and former champion Ken Jennings will solely host this season. Additionally, the prize amounts will be increased to reflect inflation and cover travel costs for contestants.
Executive producer Davies added that the show will be “increasing the second and third place prize amounts by a thousand each” with the third place prize moving up to $2,000 and second place to $3,000.
“This is something that we’ve been working on ever since I really took the reins of the show,” Davies said. “It’s something that obviously is discussed widely within our social communities and with the community of our contestants. We understand that post-COVID, travel costs have increased. We understand how complicated funding a trip to ‘Jeopardy!’ is for, you know, many contestants within our community.”