|Art Fleming 1964-1975, 1978-1979|
Alex Trebek 1983, 1984-Present
Pat Sajak 4/1/1997
|Don Pardo 1964–1975|
John Harlan 1978–1979
Jay Stewart 1983 Pilot
Johnny Gilbert 1984-present
|Merv Griffin Productions 1964-1975, 1978-1979|
Merv Griffin Enterprises 1984-1994
Columbia TriStar Television 1994-2002
Sony Pictures Television 2002-Present
|Metromedia Productions Corporation 1974-1975|
King World 1984-2007
CBS Television Distribution 2007-Present
A long-running show with a backwards format where you have to provide the question to an answer.
Three contestants competed each show, all trying to win money by correctly phrasing answers in a form of a question.
The First Two RoundsEdit
In the first two rounds, the three contestants faced a game board of six categories each with five clues behind money amounts (30 in all). Each round lasts 6 minutes.
On a player's turn, he/she selected a category and an amount, then a clue was read. The first player to ring-in with a correct question won the value of the answer, but if he/she rung in and was wrong, the value of the answer was deducted from that player's score and the other player(s) had a chance at it. From 1964-1985, contestants could ring-in at any time while the host was reading a clue; starting in the second season of the current version, contestants were/are forced to wait out until after the clue was read. The player who got the question right or was the last to choose if nobody got the question right got to choose another clue. The round continued until time ran out or if all the clues were played.
For a time in the early 1970s, a cash bonus ($500 on at least one episode) would be awarded to the first player of the day to correctly answer every clue in a single category. Doing so on the nighttime edition in 1974 won that player a Chevrolet Vega. In 1975, running a category won a London vacation package.
In the 1978 revival, the two contestants with the highest scores moved on to Double Jeopardy, while the third place player was eliminated from the game but kept the cash he/she won.
Money amounts are minimal in the Jeopardy round, while the money amounts are doubled in the Double Jeopardy round.
Here are the amounts for each round and on each version:
- Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $10 to $50. Each category is worth up to $150 for a maximum for the entire board of $900.
- Double Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $20 to $100. Each category is worth up to $300 for a maximum for the entire board of $1,800.
1978-1979 & 1983 PilotEdit
- Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $25 to $125. Each category is worth up to $375 for a maximum for the entire board of $2,250.
- Double Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $50 to $250. Each category is worth up to $750 for a maximum for the entire board of $4,500.
- Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $50 to $250. Each category is worth up to $750 for a maximum for the entire board of $4,500.
- Double Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $100 to $500. Each category is worth up to $1,500 for a maximum for the entire board of $9,000.
- Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $100 to $500. Each category is worth up to $1,500 for a maximum for the entire board of $9,000.
- Double Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $200 to $1,000. Each category is worth up to $3,000 for a maximum for the entire board of $18,000.
1990 Super Jeopardy! VersionEdit
Contestants on this version played for points instead of dollars. Though there is a payoff of $250,000 for the winner of the tournament.
- Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from 200 to 1,000. Each category is worth up to 3,000 for a maximum for the entire board of 18,000.
- Double Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from 500 to 2,500. Each category is worth up to 7,500 for a maximum for the entire board of 45,000. This was the only round where the second round clue values were not double that of the first.
- Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $200 to $1,000. Each category is worth up to $3,000 for a maximum for the entire board of $18,000.
- Double Jeopardy! - The clues are worth anywhere from $400 to $2,000. Each category is worth up to $6,000 for a maximum for the entire board of $36,000.
At some point in the round(s), the contestant in control will uncover a very special clue hidden somewhere on the Jeopardy! board called the "Daily Double" (Commonly in high value clue. But on occurrence happens on the second lowest value clue.) On a Daily Double, the contestant who picked it can wager any or all of his/her current score (wagering all is classified as a "True Daily Double"), but must wager at least $5 (which was half of the lowest clue value in the original Fleming version, which was $10). If the contestant has a low score, has a zero score or has a negative score, he/she can risk up to the maximum clue value (which usually happens) on that clue. In either case, only the contestant who picked it can give the response. A correct response added the wager, but an incorrect response or an improperly-phrased response (even if correct and regardless of the round) or no-response at all deducted the wager. (It is not told how many seconds is the limit, but it seems to be 15 seconds.) Either way, the contestant then choose another clue afterwards. There is only one Daily Double in the Jeopardy! round, and two Daily Doubles in the Double Jeopardy! round.
Special Daily DoublesEdit
Sometimes a Daily Double clue would appear differently. A Daily Double would have a sound clue after the main clue, this is called an Audio Daily Double. Another Daily Double would show the contestant a picture or a video clip mostly featuring a member of the Clue Crew after the main clue, this is called a Video Daily Double (in the Art Fleming era it was called a Film Daily Double). One last type called the Celebrity Daily Double featured a celebrity guest giving a clue himself/herself.
Starting in 2001, a group of correspondents called the Clue Crew came to effect. On certain clues, one member of the Clue Crew would be at a certain location and give a clue under the selected category.
When the group was first formed, they consisted of Cheryl Farrell, Sofia Lidskog, Jimmy McGuire, and Sarah Whitcomb (Foss). Sofia left in 2004, and in 2005, the group added two new members: Jon Cannon and Kelly Miyahara. Both Jon and Cheryl left in 2007, leaving only Jimmy, Kelly, and Sarah.
In the Jeopardy! round, if contestants forget their phrasing, they will be reminded but not penalized if the response itself is correct. However, in both the Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy! rounds, the rule is more strict, and there are no reminders; an improperly phrased response is automatically ruled incorrect, even if the response itself is correct. In both the Jeopardy! and Double Jeopardy! rounds, players who forget their phrasing may still correct themselves before time runs out. For Daily Doubles (regardless of the round), improper phrasing will result in an incorrect response, even in the Jeopardy! round; as before, players who correct themselves before time runs out will be ruled correct. For the Final Jeopardy! round, contestants write "Who is" or "What is" during the third commercial break; this rule has been in effect since at least one instance a player wrote down the correct response but didn't phrase it properly.
On all runs of the Fleming version and the first season of the Trebek version, contestants could ring in anytime a clue was exposed. However, from the second season on, contestants could ring in only after a clue has been read, as ringing in too soon locked out a player for a ¼-½ second. This rule was designed to allow the home audience to play along.
To accommodate this, there are lights that surround the perimeter of the game board that illuminate when a clue has been read, which allows a contestant to ring in. Once a player rings in, he/she will have 5 seconds to respond; each player's podium has 9 lights that indicate how much time remains for a response, and for each second that goes by, two lights dim.
At the end of the Double Jeopardy! round, the three contestants (minus the ones who ended the previous round with zero or a negative score) played the final round, Final Jeopardy! The round started with one last category for that round revealed, and then during the final commercial break, the contestants wrote down how much they wish to wager based on that category, from $0 to the total money they accmulated in the first two rounds. When the break was over, the Final Jeopardy! clue under that category was revealed, and then the contestants had 30 seconds to write down the correct response, remembering to phrase it in the form of a question. During that time, the iconic "Think!" music played in the background; since 1990 the lights dimmed during that time. When the time is up and the music ends, the questions were checked one-by-one and a correct response added the wager but an incorrect response or an improperly-phrased response (even if correct) deducted the wager.
If all three players finished Double Jeopardy! with zero or negative, no Final Jeopardy! round would be played that day, and three new players appear on the next show. So far this has occurred at least once during the Art Fleming era, but not the Alex Trebek era; however, there have been at least two instances during the Alex Trebek era where all available players finished Final Jeopardy! with zero, which still meant three new players appearing on the next show.
In the event that a contestant was blind (like Eddie Timanus), the pen was replaced with a Braille keyboard to type his/her response. In the event that the pen and/or electronic pad malfunctioned, players were provided with an index card and a marker to manually write their responses.
Winning the Game/Returning ChampionsEdit
The player with the most money won the game. If the game ended in a tie, the players who were tied won the game. The winning players returned to play the next day.
During the Art Fleming era, all contestants kept their money, win or lose; when Alex Trebek took over in 1984, only the winning contestant kept the cash while the other players won prizes according to what position they finished. However, starting with the May 16, 2002 episode, the losing contestants also won money (2nd place receives $2,000, 3rd place wins $1,000).
On the syndicated nighttime version from the mid-1970s, the winner received a bonus prize. In 1974, the winner chose one of 30 numbers, 28 of which each held a cash amount or a bonus prize. The other 2 numbers each hid half of the $25,000 grand prize, both of which must be selected. In 1975, the winner received a Chevrolet Vega subcompact for a score of less than $1,000, a midsize Chevrolet Caprice for winning $1,000 or more, $10,000 for winning at least $1,500 (later $2,000), or $25,000 for winning at least $2,000 (later $2,500).
Originally, champions stayed on the show until they won five games. After a contestant won five games, three new contestants appeared on the next show. From 1997 to 2003, five-time champions also won a new car. At the beginning of Season 20, the five-time limit was removed, allowing contestants to remain on the show until they lose.
If all three contestants finished with zero or less, they all lost the game and three new contestants played the next day. In the current version, the first time it happened was on the show's second episode. More recently, the third time it has occurred was on February 7, 2013 during the 2013 Teen Tournament.
In case of a tie, in addition to returning on the next show, the contestants who were tied get to keep the cash. On March 16, 2007, history was made when all three contestants were tied at $16,000; it was the first time in any version that a three-way tie has occurred. On tournament games, if the game ended in a tie at more than zero, one final category followed by one final clue is/was revealed. The first player to ring in with a correct response won the game, as players cannot win by default. The last tournament tiebreaker occurred on May 4, 2012.
Super Jeopardy Bonus RoundEdit
In the 1978 revival, the contestant with the most money after Double Jeopardy won the game right away, and went on to play Super Jeopardy.
Super Jeopardy was entirely different from the regular rounds, for the winning contestant now faced a board of 25 hidden clues (instead of 30) behind numbers 1-5 in place of money amounts, so there were five categories instead of six in this round. In this round, the winning contestant chose a number and a clue behind it was revealed. A correct response won $100, but an incorrect response or a pass blocked that square and received a strike; three strikes, that player was out and the game was over.
Now in addition to the $100 per correct question, giving a correct response also lit up lights around the square with the selected clue. The object of the game was to light up five squares in a row just like in bingo, either across, up and down or diagonally. Getting five a row won $5,000 plus $2,500 for every return trip, win or lose.
- Merv created the show with the help of his then-wife Juliann Griffin. He was in desperate need to create a quiz show but not one network would buy it due to the Quiz Show Scandals of the 1950s. So his wife said, "Why can't you go reversal and do a show where you can give the answers and the contestants give the questions?" Merv said, "I can't. That's why & how everybody went to jail." Juliann: "That's not what I meant, I meant like this: '5,280.'" Merv: "How many feet in a mile?" Juliann: "'79 Wistful Vista." Merv: "Was that Fibber & Mollie McGee's address?" That's when the light bulb came on. So Merv pitched the idea to NBC, and they agreed to air the show.
- The original name for Jeopardy, due to how the format worked, was called "What's the Question". It was an unexcitable title, and NBC executives confirmed it by saying, "Merv, there are no jeopardies in the game. It needs more jeopardies." Merv didn't completely listen; he kept hearing the word Jeopardy. "Jeopardy? WOW! What a word." So he told the network executives, "I heard what you're saying and we've decided to change the name; from this day on, the name of the show will be called 'Jeopardy!'" And the rest is history.
- Alex Trebek produced Jeopardy! for its first three seasons.
- This is the 2nd game show where Johnny Gilbert and Alex Trebek made their appearances.
- Ken Jennings is the highest winner on the show with over $2,000,000 won.
- The Muppets (from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, or Fraggle Rock) have never appeared on the show as contestants, but the Sesame Muppets appeared on the 4/4/06 episode to promote their Season 36 "Healthy Habits for Life" initiative as honorary Clue Crew members. The first-round category was "Sesame Street Eats". When players chose to answer clues in that category, they were shown a short clip of Trebek on the Sesame set, talking with the Muppets about healthy food. Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita and Oscar appeared, as did a dozen Muppet Eggs.
- In the first two seasons, the show did 195 episodes per year. Since the 3rd season, the show does 230 episodes every year.
- Whenever the show airs 230 consecutive episodes, encore presentations of current tournaments replay for the summer season.
- The College Championship quarterfinal games uses Wednesday's Opening Spiel since 2000 seen above.
- The Nickelodeon cartoon Invader ZIM was given a clue in the category "What a Character", for $2,000. The answer was "Irk is the home planet of this title 'invader'." However, none of the contestants, children at the time because of it being Kids Week at the time, rang in.
Tournaments and EventsEdit
- The Tournament of Champions is an annual tournament featuring 15 champions who won the most games (minimum of 3 to qualify) as well as winners of the College Championship. Until 2000, winners of the Teen Tournament were guaranteed a spot in the Tournament of Champions. Since 2011, winners of the Teachers Tournament were guaranteed spots in the ToC. The tournament itself lasts 2 weeks over 10 episodes. The very first Tournament of Champions premiered on November 11, 1985. The first week is 5 quarterfinal games; the second week is the 3 semifinal matches and the 2-day final match. There wasn't a Tournament of Champions in Seasons 17, 20, 23 & 27.
- The Teen Tournament is an annual tournament featuring high school students ages 15-17. The format structure is similar to that of the Tournament of Champions. On the current syndicated version, the Teen Tournament started on February 16, 1987.
- The defunct Seniors Tournament was held since May 11, 1987 and from December 17-29 of 1995 the Seniors Tournament discontinued. It featured contestants over the age of 50. The structure is similar to the Tournament of Champions, Teen Tournament, and College Championship.
- The College Championship has been held annually featuring college students, all full-time undergrad students without a prior degree. The structure is similar to the Teen Tournament and Tournament of Champions. The very first College Championship premiered on May 8, 1989.
- Super Jeopardy! was a 13-week tournament that aired Saturday nights on ABC. Featuring 36 former champions from the first 6 seasons of the current version plus Burns Cameron, a former champion from the Art Fleming era, this tournament awarded a $250,000 top cash prize to the winner and was hence referred to as "The $250,000 Challenge" (worded as "The Quarter-of-a-Million-Dollar Challenge"). As noted above and below, the players played for points and not dollars, and there were 4 contestants in each quarterfinal match; the semifinals and final itself had the usual 3.
- Celebrity Jeopardy! is a special edition of the show featuring celebrities competing for their favorite charities. It premiered in 1992 and lasted until 2010. These games were usually week-long events, and occasionally were called Power Players Week featuring personalities in politics and journalism. The difficulty of the material is significantly reduced, and because of that, it was parodied several times on Saturday Night Live. Unlike regular play, where a player finishing Double Jeopardy! with zero or a negative score is disqualified from playing in Final Jeopardy!, celebrities who finish the second round with zero or negative are guaranteed a nominal score to work with in the final round.
- The International Tournament featured contestants from various countries around the world. The very first international tournament took place in Culver City, California from July 15 to July 18 of 1996. There were only 9 contestants from 9 different countries and the winner of the semi-final match got to qualify in a 1 day final. From May 5 to May 9 of 1997, the show traveled out of North America to Stockholm, Sweden for the 2nd international tournament where Magnus Harenstam was the show's announcer. It was the only international tournament to still have a 3 day semi-final match and a 2-day final match. From February 12 to February 16 of 2001, the 3rd international tournament took place in Las Vegas, Nevada for another 3 semi-final match and a 1 day match.
- Kids Week began on September 6, 1999 at the start of the show's 16th season featuring 10-12 year old children. Like regular play, winners keep whatever they have won at the end of the game while the second and third place finishers receive consolation prizes. However, there are no returning champions for this event. A Kids Week Reunion was held during the second week of Season 25 bringing back 15 Kids Week alumni from 1999 and 2000.
- The Million Dollar Masters Tournament was held in May 2002 to commemorate the show's 4000th episode, featuring former champions competing for a $1,000,000 cash prize. The shows were taped at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
- The Ultimate Tournament of Champions was held from February 9, 2005 to May 29, 2005, featuring former champions from the past 21 seasons, all vying to compete against 74-game victor Ken Jennings in a 3-game final that would pay a $2,000,000 cash prize to the winner.
- The IBM Challenge was an exhibition match held on February 14-17 2011, featuring Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter competing against the Watson supercomputer.
- The Teachers Tournament has been held annually since May 2, 2011, featuring school teachers. The format is similar to the Tournament of Champions, Teen Tournament, and College Championship.
Starting in 1997, some of these tournaments and events were taped at venues outside Culver City. For instance, from 1997 to 2008, the College Championship was taped at a college campus (The 2000-A College Championship, however, was taped in Culver City). Power Players Week was always taped at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. The Million Dollar Masters Tournament and 2006 Celebrity Jeopardy! games were taped at Radio City Music Hall. The Tournament of Champions was taped on the road twice, in 2000 and 2009 respectively; the 2009 ToC was taped at the Consumer Electronics Show. Season 26 was the only season during this time span that didn't have any road shows, probably because it was the first season with the current set.
Jeopardy! in Popular CultureEdit
- Shortly before the current version premiered, the original version of Jeopardy! was satirized in a music video by "Weird Al" Yankovic called "I Lost on Jeopardy", which (like many of Weird Al’s songs) was a spoof. This one is of Greg Kihn Band's "Jeopardy". (Greg Kihn himself appears at the end of the video.) Al himself played Rock & Roll Jeopardy, and some categories referencing him were used on the regular show.
- A spoof of a Jeopardy! episode is seen in one episode of Beavis & Butthead. A clue is heard that says, "Doctors say that people need one of these once a year," to which Beavis responds, "What is a shower?"
- In 1990 Jeopardy! was featured in the long-running sitcom Cheers. Mailman & frequent bar visitor Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) was a longtime fan of Jeopardy! When he learned that the show was taping in Boston, he wasted no time in trying and making it to the show. During the show's opening, we saw a brief cameo appearance of announcer Johnny Gilbert introducing Alex. The six categories for the Jeopardy! round were Civil Servants, Stamps From Around The World, Mothers & Sons, Beer, Bar Trivia, and finally Celibacy; Woody (Woody Harrelson) referred to this round as "Cliff's Dream Board". The scene instantly changed from the first round to Final Jeopardy!, and this was where everything went south. The Final Jeopardy! category was "Movies" and the clue was "Archibald Leach, Bernard Schwartz and Lucille LeSueur"; the correct response was "Who are the real names of Cary Grant, Tony Curtis and Joan Crawford?", but Cliff's response was "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?"; Cliff, in his cocky manner, risked everything and lost, causing a lady contestant who only had $400 to win. Cliff then protested that they should've accepted his answer. In the final scenes of the episode, Alex walked into the bar (he actually stopped by to get a drink) and Cliff was there (he was completely embarrassed by his appearance & performance on the show at the time); Alex then walked up to Cliff and consoled him about his end-of-the-show troubles and even thought of leaving the show and moving to Tibet, but Cliff (seeing that he worships the show) didn't want Alex to go away, and so he successfully convinces Alex to stay seeing that he makes the show an American institution. When Alex did agree, Cliff's obsession disappeared and he went out to share the news that he saved Jeopardy!; after that, Cliff's friend Norm Peterson (George Wendt) talks with Alex and tells him that it's admirable that he would come all the way over to the bar just to try to make Cliff feel better; Alex then reveals that he didn't know Cliff was at the bar, and that running into him had only been a coincidence, and so he made up the remarks about quitting as improvisation to placate Cliff because "he scares me." Norm replied, "You, too?" This very episode created "Clavin's Rule" or "pulling a Cliff Clavin"; take, for example, a contestant from the real show on a 2000 episode who did that on a "Daily Double". John Ratzenberger would later become a celebrity contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy!.
- On Mama's Family, Thelma Harper's (Vicki Lawrence, who hosted Win, Lose or Draw for NBC at the time) friend Iola (Beverly Archer) tried out for Jeopardy! as a way of meeting host Alex Trebek, but after missing a few questions (both on Shakespeare) Thelma was the one who made it to the show. When she got there, Thelma did terrible, for she was in the negative zone up until Double Jeopardy! where she got two right (the first she stumbled into the correct response, and the second was about The Three Stooges) causing her to get out of the hole with +$100 and allowing her to play Final Jeopardy! in which the category (as luck would have it) was "Shakespeare". The final clue, however, had nothing to do with any of Shakespeare's plays; it was "the name of William Shakespeare's only son". Thelma, natually, did not get the clue right; her response was "What is Bubba" which cost her all but one dollar. The lady player on her left, however, who also responded incorrectly, did. The champion at the time (who also responded incorrectly), from not wagering a lot of his winnings, remained champion. (The correct response, incidentally, was "What is Hamnet".) Thelma thought she was going home with Lee Press-On Nails, but actually as announced by Johnny Gilbert, she won a trip for four to Hawaii, which pleased Mama, who announced she's taking her worthless family with her. This was sort of a lead-in to a two-parter which followed. NOTE: Vicki Lawrence as well as her character Mama would later appear as celebrity contestants on Celebrity Jeopardy!
- Jeopardy! was briefly mentioned on an episode of Perfect Strangers where Balki & Larry competed on a game show called Risk It All (which used set parts from a real game show called Fun House, produced by the same company as Perfect Strangers). It was made when Balki was upset about not playing the stunts since cousin Larry only wanted to answer the questions. Bob Goen portrayed the host in that episode.
- Tiny Toon Adventures paid homage to Jeopardy! with the spoof Gyp-Parody!. The show was hosted by Buster, and three of the contestants were Elmyra, Byron, and Calamity. Gameplay was the same as the show it's spoofing.
- On The Nanny, nanny Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) appeared as a contestant who (like Mama Harper) was in a negative situation up until Double Jeopardy! where she got the last two right (both of which were about food; her second correct response was on a "Daily Double" clue which she rang in on; normally on the real show, contestants who found a Daily Double don't need to ring in since they're the only ones to answer) causing her to get out of the hole with +$100 and allowing her to play Final Jeopardy!. On the real show, the player with the most money going into Final Jeopardy! had his/her response checked last, but in this episode, it was Fran's response that was checked last as a matter of surprise; prior to her response being shown, Fran went into a long lecture until Alex yelled out her name (one of the very rare times Alex loses his cool) as a matter of moving along causing her to announce her response the same time it was revealed. Fran's question was correct, risked it all and won the game with just $200. This was one of the few shows using this plot in which the protagonist comes out victorious. NOTES: Charles Shaughnessy who played Maxwell on the show & Michael McKean who guest starred in that episode would later become celebrity contestants.
- Jeopardy! made a brief appearance in the opening of the 2000 movie version of Charlie's Angels in which one of the angels Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz) became a five-day undefeated champion. NOTE: Cameron Diaz would also appear on Celebrity Jeopardy!
- Jeopardy! is played in the 1992 Movie "White Men Can't Jump". Gloria Clemente (played by Rosie Perez) gets on the show and wins $14,100.
- Ellen DeGeneres plays an energy-themed episode of Jeopardy! in EPCOT's Ellen's Energy Adventure attraction. In the attraction, Ellen plays the game as a dream she has while sleeping on the couch, playing against a rival of hers from college, Judy Peterson (played by Jamie Lee Curtis). After failing to give a correct response on her first clue, Bill Nye (one of her neighbors here) helps her by showing her various energy sources during the commercial break. Afterwards, she powers through all the clues in both Single and Double Jeopardy rounds. The Final Jeopardy clue in the category "The Future of Energy" is "It is the one source of power that will never run out." Ellen and Bill have never played the game for real, though, not even with the same categories, but Bill did give clues for the show once and Ellen was given a mention in the category "Celebrity Marriages".
- Jeopardy! was spoofed on Sesame Street in its 37th season. Alex Trebek made a special guest appearance, and Telly was a contestant. Besides a different title ("Special of the Day"), the rules of the game are the same as the show it's spoofing. Unfortunately, on the real show, the Muppets so far haven't become contestants.
- Jeopardy! was parodied several times on Saturday Night Live. The first spoof was entitled Jeopardy! 1999, which parodied the Art Fleming version while another featured Gap girls as contestants. The most well-known spoof on Saturday Night Live was Celebrity Jeopardy!, which parodied the special event under the same name where celebrities compete for charity and the game's difficulty is significantly reduced. Fourteen sketches aired from 1996 to 2009. In all fourteen sketches Will Ferrell portrayed Alex Trebek, and there were recurring antagonists as one of the guests; in the first three, Norm Macdonald played Burt Reynolds, and in the remaining sketches, Darrell Hammond played Sean Connery after Macdonald left the show. Macdonald did make two return guest appearances as Reynolds. Even though the sets changed on real Jeopardy!, all fourteen sketches took place on reproductions of the "sushi bar" set.
- Jeopardy! was also spoofed on MadTV. The first sketch, entitled "Schizophrenic Jeopardy", featured three schizophrenic contestants. Another sketch, aired in November 1998, combined Jeopardy! with Magic Johnson's talk show; this sketch was entitled "The Johnson Jeoparty Hour". Johnson had difficulty reading the clues to the players, and the show was cut after "You're Cancelled" appeared in one of the monitors. The third sketch, aired in 2004, was based around Ken Jennings and his memorable winning streak. Ike Barinholtz played Trebek, who rigged the game in favor of two contestants to beat Jennings. The first two sketches were on reproductions of the 1991-96 grid set, even though the sushi bar set was used on real Jeopardy! at the time the second sketch aired. However, the third sketch took place on a reproduction of the 2002-2009 set.
- Jeopardy! is spoofed as an improv game on Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza called "Question This!"
- In an episode of Family Guy, Mayor Adam West is in Final Jeopardy and his response to the answer "The first spacecraft to land on the surface of Mars" was Kebert Xela (Alex Trebek backwards), making Alex disappear. Adam states that saying his name backwards sends him to the fifth dimension. This same answer actually happened in a real episode in 2007 where a contestant named Jared put the same answer, "Kebert Xela". As a result, he loses everything and ends up with nothing.
- Jeopardy! is also spoofed in an episode of the popular online YouTube series The Annoying Orange where the title of the show is "Fruit for All!" and is hosted by "Apple Trebek", a parody of Alex Trebek. Orange wins the game despite going away empty-handed.
- In the 2012 movie The Three Stooges, the think music plays as Moe, Larry, & Curly are thinking of a way to raise money. The music ends abruptly when Curly waddles on the sidewalk.
To see pictures of the many styles of logos over the years click here.
To see pictures of the many styles of the Daily Double over the years click here.
To see pictures of the dollar values from over the years, click here.
To see pictures of the many looks of the game board over the years, click here.
To see videos of Jeopardy! from over the years, click here.
Art Fleming IntrosEdit
Classic Opening Spiel (1964-1975):
Now entering the studio are (later Jeopardy! presents) today's contestants. (insert challenger's names, occupations & hometowns) And our returning champion (insert champion's name, occupation, hometown & previous winnings). These three people will compete (for cash prizes) today on...Jeopardy! And here's the star of Jeopardy!, Art Fleming!
Revival Opening Spiel (1978-1979):
This is Jeopardy! Now entering the studio are today's contestants. (insert challenger's occupations, hometowns & names) And our returning champion (insert champion's occupation, hometown, previous winnings & name). And now entering the studio is the host of Jeopardy!, Art Fleming!
Alex Trebek IntrosEdit
Pilot Opening Spiel (1983-1984):
"Now entering the studio are today's contestants. (insert challenger's names, occupations & hometowns) And (our returning champion with over (insert previous winnings) in cash winnings after # matches (insert champion's name, occupation & hometown). These three contestants will compete today on...Jeopardy! And now here is the host of Jeopardy!, (Mr.) Alex Trebek!
1st Opening Spiel (1984-1996, 2000-Present):
"This is Jeopardy!".
Super Jeopardy! Opening Spiel (A-First 12 weeks):
This is Super Jeopardy! The continuing Quarter-of-a-Million-Dollar Challenge! Now entering the studio are the champions (QF)/the semifinalists (SF). (insert champions' occupations, hometowns, names, & previous winnings). And now here is the host of Super Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek!
Super Jeopardy! Opening Spiel (B-Week 13):
This is Super Jeopardy! The conclusion of The Quarter-of-a-Million-Dollar Challenge! Now entering the studio are the three finalists. (insert finalists' occupations, hometowns, names, & previous winnings). And now here is the host of Super Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek!
1st Opening Spiel (A - 10th Anniversary Season Intro, 1993-1994):
Celebrating its 10th year as America's favorite answer and question show, This is Jeopardy!
1st Opening Spiel (B - Atlanta 1996 Summer Centennial Olympic Games Intro, 1995-1996):
An official sponsor of the 1996 Olympic Games, This is Jeopardy!
2nd Opening Spiel (1996):
This is Jeopardy! America's favorite answer and question show is on location in the Sony studios celebrating 12 years.
3rd Opening Spiel (1996-2000):
From the Sony Pictures Studios, This is Jeopardy!
Note: On the 1st week of the 13th season of Jeopardy!, the announcer didn't say "Pictures" in the opening spiel.
Rest of the Opening Spiel (1984-2000):
Now entering the studio are today's contestants.
Rest of the Opening Spiel (2000-present):
Monday's Opening Spiel: Let's meet today's contestants.
Tuesday's Opening Spiel: Introducing today's contestants.
Wednesday's Opening Spiel: Here are today's contestants.
Thursday's Opening Spiel: Please welcome today's contestants.
Friday's Opening Spiel: Today's contestants are...
Rest of the Opening Spiel (1984-present):
(insert challenger's occupations, hometowns & names) And [our returning champion] (insert champion's occupation, hometown, name) whose (insert number) day cash winnings total (insert previous winnings). And now here is the host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek!
"The Answer Is..."- Art Fleming/Alex Trebek
"I'll Take (insert category) for (insert amount), Alex!"- contestant
"(insert category) for (insert amount)" - contestant
"Answer... the Daily Double." - Alex Trebek (when a Daily Double was found)
"You have (insert score). You can risk up to $500/$1,000." - Alex Trebek (when a contestant has less than $500 during Jeopardy Round! and $1,000 during Double Jeopardy! Round on a Daily Double)
"You have (insert score). You can risk up to $1,000/$2,000." - Alex Trebek (when a contestant has less than $1,000 during Jeopardy Round! and $2,000 during Double Jeopardy! Round on a Daily Double)
"Let's Make It a True Daily Double!"- contestant
"We have (Less than) a minute to go." - Alex Trebek (whenever there's one minute left during the rounds)
"Here is the clue". - Alex Trebek (during the Final Jeopardy! round)
"You have 30 seconds [players], good luck. - Alex Trebek (After the Final Jeopardy! clue was fully read)
In the late 80's/early 90's, the show launched a 1-900 number where you could play at home for $5 a minute. The commercial featured Alex Trebek promoting the game. (See below the page for these hilarious outtakes from the commercials.)
The list of countries that did their versions of Jeopardy! include:
- Arab World
- Belgium (Dutch language only)
- Canada (French language only) (Used to air on CTV and on CBC for the American English version)
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
Super Jeopardy! - a 13-episode run that aired as a weekly elimination tournament in the summer of 1990 on ABC pairing with another Merv Griffin game show, Monopoly. The tournament featured 36 former champions, one of them a champion from the Art Fleming era. The big differences on this version were that the contestants played for points instead of dollars, as well as the quarterfinal episodes having four podiums instead of three. The winner of the tournament won $250,000. Second place got $50,000 and third place got $25,000. Semifinalists eliminated received $10,000 and quarterfinalists eliminated received $5,000.
Since Jeopardy! debuted in 1964, the series has had different theme songs. The most well-known tune is "Think!" which serves as the countdown music during the Final Jeopardy! round. Since the syndicated version premiered in 1984, a rendition of "Think!" has served as the show's main theme. During the first 13 seasons of the syndicated version, the original 1964 recording of "Think!" was retained for the Final Jeopardy! round, but since 1997, there have been different arrangements and re-orchestrations of both the main theme and "Think!" music.
Main (1964-1975) - "Take Ten" by Juliann Griffin
Think Cue (1964-1975, 1978, 1983 (Pilot), 1984 (Pilot), 1984-1997) - "Think!" by Merv Griffin
Main (1978 Open, 1983 (Pilot)) - "January, February, March" by Merv Griffin
Close (1978) - "Frisco Disco" by Merv Griffin (Later used on Wheel of Fortune as a prize cue.) Commercial (1983 (Pilot)) - "Nightwalk" (Later used on Wheel of Fortune as the second shopping music.)
Main (1984 (Pilot)) - by Merv Griffin
1984-1992 - by Merv Griffin
1992-1997 - by Merv Griffin (1984 theme with bongo track added)
1997-2001 - by Steve Kaplan
2001-2008 - by Steve Kaplan (1997 theme sped up and re-arranged)
2008-current - by Chris Bell Music & Sound Design, Inc.
In 1984-1989, the theme song used synthesizers and saxophones. Click here to listen
In 1989-1991, the theme song had the full theme song had the 1st 19 seconds trimmed off.
In 1991-1992, the theme song's pitch and speed went down by 5. Click here to listen
In 1992-1996, the theme song added bongos to the synthesizers and saxophones. Click here to listen
In 1996-1997, the theme song trimmed off another 5 seconds and it begins to fade in.
In 1997-2000, the theme song's, speed went down by 5, and was completely re-orchestrated, now using piano, trumpets, saxophones, and electric guitars. Click here to listen
In 2000-2001, the theme song gets 6 seconds trimmed off and a wind blowing sound gets heard.
In 2001, the theme song's speed went up by 5, the instruments get re-orchestrated, and now has a middle section where parts of the main melodies are played with variation before the main melodies return. There were two versions of the theme. One had an introduction similar to the 1997 theme and was used for most road shows from 2001-2006, starting with the Celebrity games and International Tournament taped in Las Vegas and aired February 2001, but it was played during the end credits from 2001-2005. The other version, with a shortened introduction, was used for regular shows starting with the episode aired April 23, 2001, and used saxophones and electric guitars in the middle section and near the end. Click here to listen
In 2005-2008 the version used for regular shows played during the end credits.
Since 2008, the theme song played differently and wasn't like the other theme songs from 1984-2008, but it sounded similar to the theme song used 1984-1997. For the first few weeks of the 25th Season, electric guitars were only used near the end. About a month into Season 25, electric guitars were used throughout the entire theme. Click here to listen
From 1964-1975 and reused 1984-1997, the original Final Jeopardy! "Think!" music consisted of a celesta lead in the first verse and a flute lead in the second verse, with timpani hitting the final two notes.
From September 1-12, 1997, the "Think!" cue had only a piano lead.
From September 15, 1997 to July 25, 2008, the think music was changed to have a piano lead in the first verse and a trumpet lead in the second verse. That replaced the other one, but alternated with it.
From September 8-October 10, 2008, the Final Jeopardy! "Think!" music now had a French horn lead with the piano and flute doubling in octaves, accompanied by loud tick-tock percussion; fans called this version the "leaky faucet". Now, both the timpani and pizzicato strings play the last two notes.
Since October 13, 2008, the think music was remixed to have a more prominent piano lead and de-emphasizing the "leaky faucet" percussion. This alternated with the other one and then replaced it.
In addition, the music from Rock & Roll Jeopardy! has been used going into and coming out of commercial breaks during the College Championship, Kids Week episodes, and Teen Tournaments since Season 20. In 2006, it was used during Celebrity episodes. Starting in 2007 and lasting into today, it was used during the introductions. The 2000-A College Championship and the 2010-B College Championship used it during the Final Jeopardy! round. When the music from that game show was first used, for in and out the commercial breaks, the commercial cues would be heard. Starting from the 2005 College Championship, when coming out of a break, the ending part of one of the commercial cues would be heard. The prize cue can also be heard when out the commercial break for the Double Jeopardy! round.
Jeopardy! Online (Archived)
Info on Past Games
Jeopardy: The Database of Champions
Josh Rebich's Jeopardy! Rule Sheets
Jeopardy! History Wiki
Proposed 2011 Jeopardy! graphics package
GSNN Extra's coverage of the 2003 Tournament of Champions
GSNN Extra's coverage of the 2003 College Championship
GSNN Extra's coverage of the 2004 Teen Tournament
GSNN Extra's coverage of the 2004 Tournament of Champions
GSNN Extra's coverage of the 2004 College Championship
GSNN Extra's coverage of the 2005 Teen Tournament
GSNN Extra's coverage of the Ultimate Tournament of Champions