Welcome to the Jeopardy! Sets page.
This talks about the many sets used over the years. The set has changed just like the theme song.
Originally designed by Tom Trimble with later alterations by Merrill Sindler, the set featured contestant desks on the left and a game board on the right. The game board was covered by a blue cloth-type curtain, which revealed the categories and dollar values at the start of each round. A smaller board was used to reveal the category and clue during the Final Jeopardy! segments were revealed by means of a pull-card. A jumbled Jeopardy! logo was featured on the contestant backdrop. Contestant scores were in slides similar to Password. The contestant podiums, unlike the show today, had seats in which contestants could sit. For the weekly syndicated version, the set used flashing lights and a larger Jeopardy! logo behind the players; the rest of the set remained the same.
1978-1979 (The All New Jeopardy!)Edit
When the series was revived in 1978, a new set designed by Henry C. Lickel was introduced. Contestants walked through sliding doors just behind their desks during their introductions. The game board was on the left this time with the desks on the right. The curtain on the game board was replaced by sliding panels; pull-cards were still used, however; although, sometimes flip panels (ala Family Feud) were used with the clue printed on the reverse side & the dollar amount printed on the other side. Contestants’ scores were in eggcrate display.
1983 (Unaired Pilot 1)Edit
The set for the first unaired pilot of the Alex Trebek-hosted series retained many of the elements from the Art Fleming era. The contestant desks, backdrop, and game board resembled PCs from the technology era of the 1980s.
1984 (Unaired Pilot 2)Edit
The set was completely overhauled for the second and final unaired pilot, also by Henry C. Lickel, looking more like the 1984-85 set. The game board consisted of 30 television monitors, and the categories were backlit on cards above the monitors. The contestant podiums now had monitors in the center displaying their names; plus, there were separate name cards above the monitors. Also, the contestants' scores were now in vane display which would become standard until season 13 in 1996. A redesigned Jeopardy! logo was crafted out of red neon tubes; the lights on the logo flashed across one letter at a time (in this pilot, there would be one light going across; the rest were darkened). For Final Jeopardy! contestants wrote their responses on an electronic tablet using a light pen; this would be done for all other sets since then.
1984-1985 (Season 1)Edit
The set for the first season of Jeopardy! in syndication was the same as the one used for the second pilot but with minor face lifts. Starting with this season and lasting until the end of Season 7, the category headings would be in red text and would individually light up as Alex introduced each category and would turn off when all 5 clues in that category had been used up. At first, the category headings each had a red neon light and did not turn off when a category was finished nor turned on when the categories were announced; in fact they stayed on throughout the show. At first, the Jeopardy! logo lights didn't flash until later in that first season, only this time it is one light off while the rest are lit, and the light chase went really fast. In between, the logo lights flashed two at a time.
1985-1991 (Seasons 2-7)Edit
In 1985, the set was overhauled by art director Bob Rang into the form it would retain until 1991. The 9-foot Jeopardy! logo was this time in white neon with acrylic glass covering the letters and the light chase would slow down a bit; the acrylic glass would be gold colored from 1986 until 1991. An entrance arch was built for the contestant entrances in the open. Starting from this season onward, the values of the answers will be seen close-up before the clue is seen, the $100 value is rarely close-up. For a brief period at the start of the second season, the champion would stand at the third podium on the right, while the first challenger stood at the first podium on the left. Now, 9 light bulbs were placed atop the contestant podiums to indicate how much time they had to respond to a clue. For each second that goes by, 2 lights turn off (one on each end), meaning a player has 5 seconds to respond; the last light turning off meant the player ran out of time. In Season 6, Alex Trebek began wearing glasses, so he can read the clues to the contestants. To accommodate the rule change that players must wait until the clue was completely read before ringing in, a white light surrounds the game board, which is activated as soon as the clue is read. The category headings' neon lights changed from red to light blue, and like the first season, would light up as each category was announced; from this season until the end of Season 7, each would turn off when a category is finished. The set background changed from blue to red for Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy! Starting in Season 7 and continuing into the present, the lights started to go dark during Final Jeopardy! During this run, at the end of each episode, the monitors would flash the show's logo, often the Final Jeopardy! logo, and alternate between a blue screen, a red screen, Alex, and the day's winner(s).
Super Jeopardy! (1990)Edit
For the Super Jeopardy! tournament in the summer of 1990, the set used four podiums in the quarterfinal games; there would be the usual three for the semifinals and finals. This was also the first time the lights started to go dark during Final Jeopardy!, which became permanent from Season 7 onward. Also, the category headings were in blue text instead of red as on the regular show. Not only that, we actually see the neon light border around each category go out when the last clue in that category was chosen. The surface of the set was hard instead of carpet. Additionally, the game board borders and scoreboard borders had a marble-like texture; the scoreboard outline was rounded off, which would carry over to the regular series' 7th season (albeit without the marbled texture). On this special series, contestants play for points instead of money. The same closing animations from the regular show are used here.
1991-1996 (Seasons 8-13) "Grid Set"Edit
At the start of Season 8 in the fall of 1991, Jeopardy! introduced a brand new set, which is designed by art director Ed Flesh. The set consisted of a metal grid backdrop that took place on a blue background, in which the revised neutral white nine-foot Jeopardy! logo changes its color to a rotation of neutral white and red during the contestant introductions, and when the show goes into and comes out of commercial breaks. When the set changed its color from blue to red in the Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy! segments, the nine-foot Jeopardy! logo is still neutral white, and changes its color to a rotation of neutral white and blue. For the first half of the entire season, the nine-foot Jeopardy! logo changes its color to a rotation of neutral white, blue, and red. The contestant podiums have a shiny grid look, while Alex Trebek's podium also had a shiny grid look.
The entrance arch was eliminated, and from then until 2000, contestants simply walked onto the set during the introductions. The contestant scores atop the podiums were in incandescent seven-segment display so they could be seen when the lights dimmed during the Final Jeopardy! segments. Early in season 13, something in the display made it very easy to see the "off" segments in it, oddly. This was fixed later that season. The Final Jeopardy! logo appeared on the contestant podium monitors after the category was revealed prior to the 2-minute break to allow contestants to write down their wagers; the logo on the monitors has been used since; at the end of the show, the monitors would show the Jeopardy! logo and would also use animations to switch between two camera angles: Alex and the day's winners, just like the game board.
Also, the game board changed a number of television monitors from 30 to 36, so the contestants can see the clues sleeker, and the categories began to display in the top row of the board, with various types of animation to reveal the categories at the start of each round. For its first season using the set, the category monitors were blank and the category's name simply appeared as each category was announced but would later zoom in as each category was announced; by Season 9, it was changed to show the names of the categories broken up into pieces top and bottom and the pieces would go together as each category was announced. The game board monitors also made crazy designs that started off as its logo on the whole board, then was broken into individual logos in each monitor, therefore covering up the dollar values to be revealed as Alex gets the show underway. It was usually shown as zigzags, spirals, merges, and multiple spirals. This usually occurred on camera after Johnny Gilbert introduced Alex Trebek.
This continued until Season 26 (2009-2010), based on people watching future episodes. In 2010, the monitors changed their technology. The set was best known for its metal-grid backdrop, making true to its nickname the "grid set".
Also, from Season 9 until the end of this set's run, the backgrounds for the contestant monitors changed to red for the Double Jeopardy! segment to match the background. In addition, the contestant interviews would be moved from after the first commercial break to after completion of the first round, but starting in Season 13 and continuing to the present, the contestant interviews were moved back to after the first commercial break. In addition, from Season 9 until the end of this set's run, for the Final Jeopardy! segments, spotlights were lit behind the contestants as they wrote down their responses. Midway through Season 9 and continuing today, the camera would cut from the clue to the set seen from the logo's point of view, and would slowly pan over to the contestants as they started to write down their responses.
1996-2002 (Seasons 13-19) "Sushi Bar Set"Edit
On the November 11, 1996 episode, two months after the start of Season 13, Jeopardy! introduced an entirely new set, designed by art director Naomi Slodki. The set featured a more wood-like appearance, and was nicknamed the "Sushi Bar" set by fans. One notable new feature of the set in which the show's logo no longer changed its color to a rotation of neutral white and red/blue; it was emblazoned on sliding doors, which consist of the "P" and "A", in which Alex Trebek no longer enters the Jeopardy! set, and goes straight to the game board. And now, Alex Trebek enters the Jeopardy! set through the sliding doors of the "P" and "A" as he walks down a small staircase. On the April 1, 1997 episode, Pat Sajak would make his entrance instead of Alex Trebek; as Wheel of Fortune announcer Charlie O'Donnell would say, "And now, here is your host: Pat Sajak!"
On some episodes during Celebrity weeks, celebrities make their entrances by entering the emblazoned sliding doors and to their contestants' podiums during their introductions. The backdrop behind the contestants, and for the entire set, consisted of dark gray granite columns and huge wood panels with small etched glass windows. 2 big monitors on the left and right of the set had been added so that the audience can see the action.
On the first episode with this set, the contestant monitors turned red in the Double Jeopardy! segment for the last time. And starting this season, the camera no longer zooms in on the top and bottom dollar values, and the closing animations between Alex and the day's winners are discontinued. In the first season of this set's run, the category monitors would be blank, and the categories would come in from both top and bottom, coming together. On the April 1, 1997 episode, Pat Sajak guest hosted Jeopardy!, when he filled in for Alex Trebek as part of an April Fools Day gag. That same day, Alex Trebek guest hosted Wheel of Fortune, where Pat Sajak and Vanna White played for charity.
Beginning in Season 14 and continuing into the current set, the categories were covered by a Jeopardy! logo, Double Jeopardy!, as well as a logo of a particular tournament. From 1997 to 2000, the category effect screen rotated the page up, and from 2000 onward, the category effect screen faded in. Also starting in Season 14, the microphones are removed from the contestant podiums, and now Alex Trebek and the contestants started to wear clip-on mics, which have been used on all other sets since then.
Also, at long last, the studio audience can now be seen during Alex's entrance, going into and coming out of commercial breaks, and during the closing credits. After the October 3, 1997 episode, the set no longer changed its color from blue to red in Double Jeopardy! Before that date with this set, the background color would switch back to blue at the show's close.
However, on the January 23, 1998 Celebrity Jeopardy! sportscasters episode, the set changed its color from blue to red in the Double Jeopardy! segment for the last time, and on the February 14, 1997 Teen Tournament Finals episode, the set was a rather unusual pink shade at the show's close.
On 1996-1998 episodes, the glass was back-lit in red and the grid in purple for the Jeopardy! segment, while they both were in purple for the Double Jeopardy! segment, and on 1998-2000 episodes, the glass and grid remained the same throughout the entire episode: red glass with a blue grid. On 2001-2002 episodes, the pink on the sliding doors has changed its color to a very pale lavender.
Also in early 1998, the practice of popping in the dollar figures on the Double Jeopardy! board ended; they were already present in the monitors coming out of the second commercial break. This was first seen during the Tournament of Champions in February and became permanent in March. Beginning with the first episode aired in the third week of March 2000, the audience no longer applauded coming out of the 2nd commercial break.
Starting in Season 17 and continuing to today, the contestants no longer entered the studio at the beginning of the show, they are already standing at their podiums. Previously in the last few seasons, blind contestants who made their appearances were now standing next to their podiums during their introductions; this happened only 5 times before Season 17, which is not counting the 1997 International Tournament, all occurring in Season 16 when the first ever blind Jeopardy! contestant Eddie Timanus appeared and won five consecutive games.
On September 19, 1997, the contestants were standing at their podiums to celebrate the 3,000th episode of the show and the players were introduced after Alex Trebek came through the sliding doors. For no apparent reason on the October 7, 1997 episode, all three contestants appeared standing next to their podiums for the very first time.
2002-2009 (Seasons 19-25) "Metallic Set"Edit
On the November 25, 2002 episode, two months after the start of Season 19, Jeopardy! introduced another new set, also designed by art director Naomi Slodki. It featured hanging panels with stone fixtures and metallic finishes as well as translucent light blue, making true to its name the metallic set. The set also featured trapezoid-shaped podiums, and the score displays were changed from incandescent seven-segment display to blue and red video displays with dynamic scoring. It meant that positive scores were displayed in blue while negative scores were shown in red. During the first week with this set, the background changed from blue to red when the lights dimmed during Final Jeopardy!, a somewhat revived practice from the 80s and 90s when the Double Jeopardy! round was in play. But from the second week until the end of Season 21, the set stayed blue throughout the entire show. However, starting in Season 22 and continuing to today, the set turning red when the lights dim during Final Jeopardy! became permanent. In addition, when the set debuted, there were no outer lights on the podium; those debuted starting in Season 20.
In the fall of 2006, Jeopardy! and its sister show Wheel of Fortune became the first game shows to broadcast in high definition when they premiered their 23rd and 24th seasons respectively. As part of the transition to HD, the set received minor facelifts. The game board is now consisted of a nearly seamless projection wall a seamless projection wall was part of the show's traveling sets from 1997 until 2008; a similar or perhaps the same one was used for Rock & Roll Jeopardy!. The podiums from the pre-HD version of this set were replaced with more "HD-friendly" ones. The trapezoid-shaped contestant podiums were replaced with more rectangular-shaped ones and were now spaced wider apart so that a camera shot could be trained on a single contestant within a 16:9 ratio frame without showing the other contestants on the sides of the screen. Also, the contestant podiums originally had red ring-in lights, but from the third week of Season 23 until the end of this set's run, they were changed to white due to visibility issues.
During Season 25 only, the dollar figures didn't pop in on the Jeopardy! round board; they were already present following the introductions. The host's podium and contestant podiums from this set are now in the Jeopardy! Hall of fame, which opened in mid-September 2011.
2009-2013 (Seasons 26-29) "CES Set"Edit
In 2009, Jeopardy! rolled out a brand new state-of-the-art set, designed again by Naomi Slodki. This set was first used on the Celebrity Jeopardy! and Tournament of Champions episodes aired March 10-24, 2009, all while the show was being taped at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (making true to its name the CES set), and was then put permanently into use from the start of Season 26 onward. It is now designed specifically for HD and features Sony's latest technology. The game board is now a wall of 36 42-inch Sony HD flat panel LCD monitors (the game board on the traveling set now uses smaller LCD monitors); it is also three feet wider than the previous game boards since it uses 16:9 monitors. The contestant podiums are also comprised of flat-panel monitors but on their sides. A large monitor is placed between the contestant podiums and Alex's podium and displays the Jeopardy! logo throughout most of the game. The monitor between Alex and the contestants also reveals the Final Jeopardy! category just before the third commercial break a somewhat revived practice from the Art Fleming era and because of that, Alex remained at his podium prior to this he stood in front of the game board, though both the category and clue continue to be revealed on the game board and Alex continued to stand in front of it during the first two seasons of this set's run. Behind Alex's podium are sliding doors, in which Alex would make his entrance similar to when the Sushi Bar set was in use. Another notable feature of the set is the contestant backdrop, which is comprised of multi-colored triangles and "spider web" like designs consisting of black and white lines. The contestant podium scores are always shown on a blue background this time; while positive scores continue to be shown in white text, negative scores are shown in red text on a blue background.
Also on the Season 26 premiere, the practice of popping in the dollar figures on the Jeopardy! round board returned but with a different sound effect.
On the episode aired March 15, 2010, consolation prizes $2000 for 2nd place and $1000 for third place began appearing on the contestant podium score displays at the conclusion of the game, appearing as blue text on a white background. Shown under the consolation scores are the logos for the prizes' sponsor, Aleve.
Starting in Season 28, Alex made his entrance from behind the game board instead of through the sliding doors rendering them stationary, and remained at his podium throughout the whole game due to Achilles Tendon injury he suffered when he chased a robber in San Francisco; however, on the episode aired December 12, 2011, Alex returned to conducting the contestant interviews near the contestant podiums, and he continues to stand in front of the board when revealing the Final Jeopardy! clue and category on road shows. During the second week of this season, the sponsor for the consolation prizes began appearing superimposed on the contestant podiums at the conclusion of the game.
Two podiums from this set were used on The Queen Latifah Show (2013-2015 version) for their Hip Hop Jeopardy! skit with Will Smith.
2013-present (Season 30-present) "Aquatic Set"Edit
Although Jeopardy! did not receive a completely new set as it did in 2009, the set underwent a significant remodeling for the show's 30th Anniversary Season and features elements from the first three Naomi Slodki designed sets. The sliding doors behind Alex's podium were removed and replaced by what appears to be a ramp or some sort of curved pillar; the "ramp" or "pillar" behind the board has blue LED strips and thus reminds viewers of the pre-2006 metallic set. While the blue curtain from the CES set is retained, the backdrop is modified. Now there is a column-and-beam design with three LED strips and a white LED pattern on the beam and rectangular LED posts on the columns; the column-and-beam backdrop resembles the set used at Radio City Music Hall, the sushi bar set, and the current generic backdrop used on Wheel of Fortune. While retaining the 42-inch LCD monitors, the game board is changed to match the backdrop, also consisting of the LED strips and sushi bar like pattern on top and rectangular LED posts on the sides. Alex's podium was redone in a similar manner and, for the first time since the Fleming era, has the Jeopardy! logo. The multi-colored triangles and "spider-web" framework were replaced with curved lines and an extremely long curved shape that changes color, mainly ocean blue and purple. Additionally, the "piano key" LEDs were removed from the floor, and the contestant side was raised to create a single level floor. The contestant podiums resemble the ones used 2006-2009, while retaining the sideways monitors. And the large monitor between Alex and the contestants is also retained from the CES set but this time mounted on a "walrus tusk" post. The new set has various nicknames such as "30th anniversary set", "CES set #2", "Parthenon set", "Radio City Music Hall 2.0", "CES set 2.0, and "Vegas 2.0"; it is unknown what nickname works most appropriately, but the first one might work best.
From December 21, 2015 to January 1, 2016, Alex remained at his podium throughout the entire game for the first time since Season 28 due to his full knee replacement surgery. He no longer walked onto the set during the introductions but is already at his podium. Also, he uses a cane for post-game chats with the contestants during the closing credits.
Starting with the second to last week of Season 32, the sponsor for the consolation prizes no longer appeared under the contestant score displays.
Starting in season 33, the popping from the 26th season was kept but with a replaced sound effect (yet to be used on reruns of the Sports Jeopardy! spin-off). Starting in late 2016, Centrum is now the sponsor for Season 33 and in April 2017, an ad for The Smurfs movie The Lost Village was added.
There have also been various sets used for when the show goes on the road for specific tournaments and events. These sets are fabricated in Southern California before being shipped to their respective road venues for taping. The 1997 International Tournament and 2009 Tournament of Champions, however, didn't use traveling sets; the former took place on the set of the Swedish version, and the other became the primary set at Sony Pictures Studios.