Jeopardy! broadcast information
Jeopardy! is an American television quiz show created by Merv Griffin, in which contestants are presented with trivia clues in the form of answers and must phrase their responses in the form of a question. The show has experienced a long life in several incarnations over the course of nearly a half-century, spending more than 11 years as a daytime network program and having currently run in syndication for 30 seasons. It has also gained a worldwide following with a multitude of international adaptations.
- 1 Art Fleming era
- 2 Daily syndication era (1984–present)
- 3 Spin-off programs
- 4 International adaptations
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Art Fleming era
Original series (1964–75)
The original Jeopardy! series, hosted by Art Fleming, premiered at 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central) on March 30, 1964, originating from the NBC headquarters in New York City's Rockefeller Center. NBC moved the program to 12:00 noon Eastern (11:00 am Central) after 18 months, making it accessible to businessmen coming home for their lunch break or else watching it on restaurant or bar sets, and college students departing their classes for the day. These two constituencies, who ordinarily did not have the time or interest to view other daytime programs, made the show a runaway hit, propelling its ratings to second place among all daytime game shows by the end of the decade—second only to its immediate lead-in, The Hollywood Squares. The show had practically no trouble whatsoever against soap operas such as Love of Life on CBS and mostly sitcom reruns on ABC.
In 1973, Lin Bolen, then Vice President of Daytime Programming at NBC, began eliminating longer-running game shows from the network in an aggressive attempt to bolster ratings among women aged 18–34. Refreshing the daytime lineup became especially imperative to Bolen when CBS launched a surprise success in the soap opera The Young and the Restless at 12:00 pm EST (11:00 am CST), drawing away younger audiences in particular. Although Jeopardy! continued to produce high ratings in the 12:00 noon time slot (also against the ABC revival of Password), Bolen moved the game to 10:30 am Eastern (9:30 Central) on January 7, 1974, putting it up against CBS' The $10,000 Pyramid, and placed Jackpot!, a stylish, youth-oriented riddle contest hosted by Geoff Edwards, in Jeopardy!'s former time slot. Bolen and other NBC executives were surprised, though, when Jeopardy actually beat Pyramid for several weeks in February and March, prompting CBS to cancel Pyramid for failing to draw, according to producer Bob Stewart (who also produced Jackpot!), a 30 share that CBS daytime executives required a show to have in order to stay on its daytime schedule (Pyramid would return several weeks later on ABC in an afternoon slot and would go on to become one of the most popular games of the 1970s and 1980s.) CBS relocated Gambit to 10:30 am on April 1, which ran about even with Jeopardy! in the ratings, with Gambit having perhaps a slight lead, due to its more traditional housewife target audience.
However, Bolen was not interested in seeing an aging show like Jeopardy! stand in the way of her plans for a more youthful image for NBC's daytime lineup. So, on July 1 of the same year, NBC moved Jeopardy!'s time slot again, this time to 1:30 pm EST (12:30 pm CST) (replacing Three on a Match, yet another Bob Stewart-produced game) and placed it against ABC's Let's Make a Deal and CBS' As the World Turns, both of which had easily beaten the ratings of several programs placed in that same time slot by NBC since December 1968. At that time, Deal moved to ABC from NBC, which had carried it in that very time slot during much of the 1960s, in a dispute by packagers Stefan Hatos and Monty Hall over the latter network's refusal to make a weekly prime-time version of the show permanent.
With the July move, many of the previously devoted viewers began abandoning the program. Jeopardy! became the seventh show since 1968 to fail at 1:30 pm EST (12:30 pm CST), and a cancellation notice was issued by November 1974. Its replacement was the expansion of Another World to a full hour, the first daytime serial to expand to that duration; in April 1975, another serial, Days of Our Lives would begin occupying that time slot and eventually brought success to NBC there. Jeopardy! broadcast the 2,753rd and final episode of its original network run on January 3, 1975. Some affiliates, including KNBC in Los Angeles, aired reruns in various other time slots through the first quarter of that year. To compensate Griffin for canceling the program, which still had a year left on its contract, NBC purchased Wheel of Fortune, another creation of his, which premiered on January 6, 1975 at 10:30 am Eastern (9:30 Central).
Weekly syndicated version (1974–75)
Griffin secured the rights from NBC to produce new episodes for first-run syndication, with Metromedia (who also syndicated Griffin's popular talk show) as their distributor. Griffin took this action mainly to keep the show in production in light of the show's deteriorating ratings on NBC daytime that would eventually led to cancellation; NBC had repeatedly refused Griffin's requests to do so in the past. These episodes began airing weekly in September 1974 and featured many contestants who were previous champions on the NBC version. Thirty-nine episodes were produced, with reruns of this version also airing in syndication through about summer 1975. Most stations aired this during the Prime Time Access slots in the early evening before network prime-time programming began, usually in a "checkerboard" pattern with other weekly shows, meaning a different syndicated show aired each night, like the networks in prime time. By 1974, though, the market was flooded with evening versions of network games like the Hollywood Squares and The Price Is Right, and Jeopardy!, already on a popularity downswing for some time, did not get anywhere near nationwide clearance, thus dooming it to failure after one season.
Unique to this version was a bonus awarded at the end of the program, after Final Jeopardy! was completed. The episode's champion selected a prize hidden behind the thirty squares on the Jeopardy! board. Among the prizes was a $25,000 cash award which was hidden behind two squares. In order to win the top prize, the champion had to find both $25,000 cards in succession (winning the prize on the second pick if it was not the latter half of the grand prize). In later episodes, the bonus board was dropped and the evening's champion received a prize based upon his or her final score, with a Chevrolet Vega or Chevrolet Caprice (or even additional cash prizes of $10,000 or $25,000) as possibilities.
The set also featured a string of flashing lights around the show logo behind the contestant area, and Fleming wore a tuxedo with a check-patterned jacket instead of his usual business suit and necktie. When production ended, the program's history in New York City came to an end as well.
The All-New Jeopardy! (1978–79)
In 1977, a pilot was shot for a Jeopardy! revival which would have aired on CBS. The pilot was not picked up, but a second was commissioned by NBC a year later and from that came The All-New Jeopardy!. Launching on October 2, 1978, the revived Jeopardy! took the spot of the soap opera For Richer, For Poorer on NBC's daytime schedule and initially aired weekdays at 10:30 am. From its debut until January 5, 1979, Jeopardy! aired against the first half-hour of the hit show The Price Is Right, which aired on CBS. As such, the show found itself unable to build an audience.
On January 8, 1979 NBC moved Jeopardy! from 10:30 am to noon, the timeslot the original series had occupied and done well in for many years. However, the television climate in 1979 was much different than it was in the 1960s and early 1970s. The 12:00 pm hour was one that network affiliates often chose to pre-empt in favor of showing other programming such as a midday local newscast or a syndicated offering such as another game show or a talk show. In markets that did air Jeopardy! at noon, the show found itself losing the ratings battle against The $20,000 Pyramid on ABC and The Young and the Restless on CBS. NBC decided to pull the plug on the revived Jeopardy! series shortly after the move, and its 108th and final episode aired on March 2, 1979. Its place on the schedule was taken to allow the network's top rated soap opera, Another World, to become the first ninety-minute serial in daytime.
Originating from the NBC Studios in Burbank, California, this version featured some unique gameplay elements of its own. In the most notable of these elements, the lowest scoring player would be eliminated from further play after the Jeopardy! round. The remaining two players played the Double Jeopardy! round until either its completion or time was called (usually the latter), and the player with the most money was declared the winner.
Instead of playing the original format's final round, known as Final Jeopardy!, the day's champion played a bonus game called Super Jeopardy! to try to win an additional cash prize. The round consisted of five categories (instead of six in the main game), each with five clues of no determined value. The object of the round was to answer five questions to create a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line on the board. Players had to create the line before accumulating three strikes, which were given if a player either failed to respond (passing was not allowed without penalty) or gave an incorrect answer. If the contestant struck out $100 was awarded for each correct answer given, but if the contestant was successful he/she would win $5,000. For each successive time a champion played the Super Jeopardy! round, regardless of whether or not the player had won the round the day before, he/she would play for $2,500 more than he/she had the previous time—a second trip would be played for $7,500, a third $10,000, a fourth $12,500, and a fifth and final trip $15,000. A player could earn $50,000 from Super Jeopardy! alone, provided that said player won each Super Jeopardy! round over a five-day reign as champion.
Following the success of the nighttime syndicated version of Wheel which had premiered in 1983, Griffin sold a new syndicated version of Jeopardy!, hosted by Canadian-born TV personality Alex Trebek, to its same distributor, King World Productions (which would much later be folded into CBS Television Distribution). The Trebek version officially premiered on September 10, 1984, and introduced updated technology to the program, replacing the former manually operated game board featuring clues printed on pull cards with television monitors to display clues. The main difference from the 1964–75 versions was that only the winning contestant kept his or her earnings, while the runners-up were awarded higher-end consolation prizes instead (changed in later years to $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third).
Initially, Jeopardy! was relegated by managers of some television stations to unpopular time slots, and it was not unusual for both Jeopardy! and Wheel to air either non-consecutively, on different stations, or even against each other. However, the new version built upon early ratings success in Cleveland and Detroit, where it was slotted in the same 7:00–8:00 pm period (the Prime Time access hour) in which Wheel also appeared. Coinciding with the peak of popularity for Trivial Pursuit and the installation of electronic trivia games (e.g. NTN Buzztime) in pubs and bars, Jeopardy! was slowly becoming a major success despite some markets still airing it in unfavorable time slots. One such market was New York City, where NBC's East Coast flagship, WNBC placed Jeopardy! at 1:30 AM following Late Night with David Letterman.
Although the series was indeed proving to be a hit, its late time slot in the country's largest media market began to concern its distributor. Even though Letterman's show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson were strong ratings winners and helped Jeopardy! find an audience, a late night time slot is not usually considered beneficial for a first run series. At WNBC, every possible daytime or early evening slot that might have been available for Jeopardy! was spoken for by either network or other first-run syndicated programming. At mid-season, seeing no opportunity for an earlier airing at WNBC, King World pulled Jeopardy! from the station.
The series moved to WABC at 4:00 pm on December 31, 1984, following ABC's cancellation of The Edge of Night and the return of the time slot to the affiliates. It was followed by Name That Tune, which the station had been airing in the morning. Jeopardy! was intended to serve as the anchor, to help the struggling Name That Tune gain a bigger audience, and to improve the station's overall ratings in the hour leading to Eyewitness News at 5:00 pm. It did not work as WABC had planned, however. Over the next year and a half, WABC aired Name That Tune, Divorce Court and the syndicated Sale of The Century at 4:30, none of which succeeded in the ratings. This left Jeopardy! as the only show drawing ratings for WABC in late afternoon. WABC, however, was growing impatient and a change was in the works that would affect the station's schedule for the next three decades.
Prime Time Access shakeup
Jeopardy! remained at 4:00 pm at the start of the 1986–87 season, and WABC picked up a syndicated edition of CBS's Card Sharks, which followed it at 4:30. That season also saw The Oprah Winfrey Show debut in national syndication after two years as a local talk show based out of WLS-TV in Chicago, and WABC began airing it at 10:00 AM following their own locally produced variety talk program, The Morning Show. Oprah became an overnight success and quickly surpassed Donahue as the most popular daytime talk show in the United States. Meanwhile, the struggles at 4:30 pm continued as Card Sharks joined its predecessors as series unable to piggyback off of Jeopardy!'s ratings.
Before 1986 ended, WABC planned to move Oprah to the 4:00 pm slot Jeopardy! and Card Sharks occupied, where it would remain until the show ended its run in 2011. This move would result in both game shows being forced to air at another time. While the low rated Card Sharks moved to late night following Nightline, Jeopardy!'s continually increasing popularity required WABC to find a more viable timeslot for it. At the time, WABC did not have anyplace to move the show except to the 10:00 AM slot Oprah had just vacated. However, the station decided to go even further and made a decision that would shake up many stations' early evening schedules in the years to come.
At the time, as the station itself (and competitors WNBC and WCBS) had done for years, WABC aired an hour-long edition of Eyewitness News at 6:00 pm, with the national World News Tonight broadcast following at 7:00 pm. WABC's remaining Prime Time Access slot, at 7:30 pm, was filled by a John Davidson-hosted revival of Hollywood Squares, which premiered that fall (along with Oprah and Card Sharks) and was doing fairly well against the popular Wheel of Fortune on WCBS. Seeing these ratings, WABC thought they could draw the same or better ratings with Jeopardy! as a lead-in to Squares. There was also no rule that required WABC to air World News Tonight at 7:00 pm, and thus the decision had been made.
On December 15, 1986, the same day Oprah moved to 4:00 pm, WABC reduced the 6:00 pm broadcast of Eyewitness News by 30 minutes and moved World News Tonight to 6:30, with Jeopardy! airing at 7:00 and Squares following it at 7:30. To alert viewers to the timeslot changes, WABC launched an advertising campaign entitled "Prime Time Begins At 7 On 7". In addition, WABC would fill Oprah's vacated 10:00 AM slot after The Morning Show (which itself entered national syndication in 1988 as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee) with a second run of the previous evening's broadcast of Jeopardy!, followed by a revival of the 1970s game show, Split Second at 10:30 AM; the latter program would be canceled by the end of the 1986–87 season. WABC would permanently fill the 10:00 AM timeslot in September 1987 by gaining the New York rights to Sally Jessy Raphael's eponymous talk show, and the transformation of WABC's daytime lineup was complete.
The move produced a ratings win in both the 6:30 and 7:00 pm timeslots, as World News Tonight also benefited from the switch. Eventually WCBS and WNBC capitulated, and their networks' respective national newscasts moved to 6:30 pm as well. After moving the CBS Evening News to 6:30 pm in the fall of 1988, WCBS picked up the game show Win, Lose or Draw to air at 7:00 pm as a lead in for Wheel, while WNBC (which also moved NBC Nightly News to 6:30) eventually began airing newsmagazines (such as Inside Edition) and a new syndicated version of Family Feud hosted by Ray Combs in the hour preceding prime time.
As for WABC, which has aired Jeopardy! at 7:00 ever since, initially the same lead-out issues plagued the station. Hollywood Squares saw its ratings decline and was dropped from the timeslot later in the 1987–88 season in favor of a return of Entertainment Tonight to WABC; Squares moved to WPIX, where it remained until the end of its run in 1989. In 1990, WABC acquired Wheel to air following Jeopardy! at 7:30 where it has remained ever since, as WCBS was looking to air different programming (such as the newsmagazine Hard Copy, which it picked up in 1989) in its access hour. ET would eventually move to WCBS, and now airs in Wheel's old slot.
WABC's successful access hour move eventually resulted in many Eastern and Pacific Time Zone network affiliates moving their network newscasts to 6:30 pm. While affiliates in the Central and Mountain time zones generally program Wheel at 6:30 pm though, Jeopardy! largely airs in late afternoon (and in some cases, morning) timeslots, as these stations typically air local newscasts in the half-hour following their networks' respective national ones.
Jeopardy! and Wheel have since become staples on seven of ABC's eight owned-and-operated stations (WABC, KABC/Los Angeles, WLS, WPVI/Philadelphia, KGO/San Francisco, WTVD/Raleigh-Durham and KFSN/Fresno). The only exception was KTRK in Houston, which has never carried both game shows (in part due to an hour-long newscast in the Prime Time Access hour where Wheel would normally broadcast); both game shows have aired on different Houston stations: first on NBC-affiliate KPRC from their respective start dates to 1986 when both shows moved to Tegna-owned CBS affiliate KHOU. However, beginning September 14, 2015 KTRK began airing Jeopardy!, making it the last ABC-owned station to do so, though Wheel will continue to air on KHOU as KTRK still carries two separate half-hour newscasts in the 6:00 pm access hour.
Ratings and critical reception
Since its debut, the syndicated version of Jeopardy! has gone on to win fourteen Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show, achieving this honor most recently in 2014, and today it holds the record as the most honored program in this Emmy award category.
The show was the subject of great interest and increased ratings (often out-performing Wheel and even prime-time programs) in the early portions of the 2004–05 season as contestant Ken Jennings, taking advantage of newly relaxed appearance rules, won 74 matches before being defeated by Nancy Zerg in his 75th appearance. He amassed $2,520,700 over the course of his winning streak as well as a $2,000 second-place prize in his 75th appearance, thus earning the record as the highest money-winner ever on American game shows, and his winning streak led the show to become TV's highest-rated syndicated program.
On September 11, 2006, with the start of Season 23, Jeopardy! began broadcasting in high definition. King World and production company Sony Pictures Television indicated that as of August 10, 2006, some 49 of the 210 stations that carried the show at that time were prepared for the transition. Sony uses the 1080i HD format to record the show, but since Jeopardy! is syndicated, stations using the 720p format had to manually transcode the show from an HD satellite feed before broadcasting it. This issue was remedied with the introduction of the Pathfire satellite system for high-definition syndicated content distribution.
On January 2, 2007 one third of subscribing stations originally renewed Jeopardy! through Season 28 (2011–12), but by April 8, 2010 Jeopardy! was given an additional two-year renewal through Season 30 (2013–14). Then in 2012, Trebek and Wheel personalities Pat Sajak and Vanna White renewed their respective contracts when the shows' ABC-owned affiliates renewed both game shows through the 2015–16 season.
CBS Television Distribution currently offers stations up to two episodes of Jeopardy! to air each weekday: the first run (which airs new episodes from September to July), and a "classic Jeopardy!" package consisting of recent tournaments. Additional reruns from the previous season are also available for air on Saturdays.
Jep!, an adaptation geared towards children aged ten through twelve, aired on Game Show Network (GSN) from 1998 to 2000.
Rock & Roll Jeopardy!
In fall 2014, Crackle, an online video portal owned by Sony, began exclusively carrying Sports Jeopardy!, a themed version of the show with material focused entirely on sports trivia. Sportscaster Dan Patrick hosts the webseries, which produces new episodes once a week. Kelly Miyahara, a member of the Jeopardy! Clue Crew, serves as an on-camera announcer. Howie Schwab serves as off-camera judge and consultant.
In this version, players play for points, with the second and third place contestants winning $1,000 and $2,000 each (the same as the parent series) and the winner earning $5,000. For the first season, there were no returning champions; returning champions were added in the second season. The top three scorers from the first season competed in a “Tournament of Champions” for a $50,000 top prize. Justin Shibilski, a Yankees fan from Aurora, Illinois, beat all other competitors and won the two-day tournament.
Also, each category has only four clues (250, 500, 750 and 1,000 in the Jeopardy! round, with those values doubled for Double Jeopardy!) compared to five in the parent series. The fewer clues allows Patrick and the contestants more time to interact during the interview portion of the show and during a “postgame” segment during and after the closing credits.
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek made a guest appearance on the third episode of Sports Jeopardy! reading the Final Jeopardy! clue.
The popularity of Jeopardy! in the United States has led the show's format to launch in many foreign countries throughout the world. This has led the American version to conduct "International Tournaments" in which champions from the show's foreign adaptations competed in a one-week tournament identical to the semifinals and finals of the American version's "Tournament of Champions".
Most versions are faithful to the American version's format, but some use unique formats of their own; for example, the Czech and Slovak adaptations eschew the show's trademark "answer and question" format in favor of a simple, standard quiz format, where clues are presented as questions or tasks and the contestants simply answer the questions or perform the tasks indicated, rather than providing responses phrased in the form of a question.
|MBC 1||Ibrahim Abou Jawdeh||2011|
|Argentina||Jeopardy!||Canal 13||Fernando Bravo||2006–?|
|Australia||Jeopardy!||Network Ten||Bob Sanders
|Belgium (Dutch)||Waagstuk!||VTM||Luc Appermont||1990–97|
|Canada (French)||Jeopardy!||TVA network||Réal Giguère||1991–93|
|Croatia||Izazov!||HRT 1||Dražen Sirišćević, Joško Lokas||1998|
|TV3||Adam Duvå Hall||2014–present|
|Finland||Jeopardy!||Nelonen||Ismo Apell||Spring 2007|
|Hungary||Mindent vagy Semmit!||MTV (1993–97)
|Indonesia||Jeopardy!||Shine TV-2||Robby Purba||2013|
Melekh Ha Trivia
|Channel 3||Eli Israeli||1997–2000|
|Italy||Rischiatutto||Rai Due (1970–72)
Rai Uno (1972–74)
Quiz Grand Prix
|Fuji Television||Hiroshi Koizumi||1970–80|
|Mexico||Jeopardy!||TV Azteca||Omar Fierro||1998–2000|
|New Zealand||Jeopardy!||TVNZ||Mark Leishman||1992–93|
Nils Gunnar Lie
|Poland||Va Banque||TVP2||Kazimierz Kaczor||1996–2003|
|Romania||Riști și câștigi!||PRO TV||Constantin Cotimanis
|Riskuj!||TV JOJ||Štefan Bučko
|Spain||Jeopardy!||Antena 3||Carlos Sobera||2007|
|Turkey||Riziko!||TRT 1 (1994–96)
Kanal 7 (1998–99)
Kanal 7 (2000)
|Büyük Risk [dead link]||Star TV||Selçuk Yöntem||2012–present|
|United Kingdom||Jeopardy!||Channel 4||Derek Hobson||1983–84|
|Sky One||Paul Ross||1995–96|
Canadian broadcasting of the show
Even though the program has spawned many foreign adaptations, the American syndicated version of Jeopardy! is itself broadcast across the world, with international distribution rights held by CBS Studios International (which, like the show's U.S. distributor CBS Television Distribution, is a unit of CBS Corporation).
In Canada, Jeopardy! had aired largely on local stations since its debut. Like most American game shows that air in Canada, Canadians are eligible to appear as contestants on the American version, with notable examples including 1990 Tournament of Champions winner Bob Blake and 1997 International Jeopardy! Tournament winner Michael Daunt. Before 2008, Jeopardy! aired across Canada mostly on CTV stations, although the Vancouver CTV station CIVT-TV has never aired the show (the show has, however, apparently aired before on local Global station CHAN-TV), and in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, the show airs on NTV.
From 2008 to 2012, the show was broadcast by all affiliates of CBC Television except for CBET-DT in Windsor, Ontario (due to broadcast rights in that region being held by WDIV-TV in Detroit). Funding decreases to CBC led to the network declining to renew Jeopardy! and Wheel for the 2012–13 season, in favor of producing its own game show.
In French Canada, just as Wheel of Fortune once had its own French-Canadian version, there was also a French-Canadian version of Jeopardy! that aired for a few seasons in Quebec, on TVA, from 1991 to 1993.
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Since its 1984 syndication debut, Jeopardy! has been honored with 30 Daytime Emmy Awards, more than any other syndicated game show. Thirteen Emmys have been awarded for Outstanding Game Show/Audience Participation.
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- Richmond, p. 150. "[For Season 13, new producer Harry Friedman's] first order of business: travel to Sweden for Jeopardy!'s first-ever tapings in a foreign country.…The international tournament is shot on the set of the Jeopardy! version in Stockholm, complete with ring-in apparatus that find contestants banging on plungers rather than ringing buzzers. Michael Daunt of Canada wins the international championship."
- Harris, Bob (2006). Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy!. New York: Crown Publishers. p. 15. ISBN 0-307-33956-4.
Like any burgeoning empire, Jeopardy! has also swept across distant lands, with local versions in Canada, England, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Israel, and Australia. This led eventually to the International Tournament of 1997, which was won by Michael Daunt, a mild-mannered accountant from Canada with a kindly demeanor and a killer instinct that emerges about every twelve seconds.
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- Official Website of Rock & Roll Jeopardy! (via Internet Archive)
- Official Website of Jep! (via Internet Archive)
- Official Website of Sports Jeopardy!
- Rock & Roll Jeopardy! at the Internet Movie Database
- Jep! at the Internet Movie Database
- Rock & Roll Jeopardy! at TV.com
- Jep! at TV.com