Jeopardy is in a pickle as season 40 approaches and the writers’ strike against the unfair pay of the studios continues. This is because Jeopardy would like to continue producing episodes despite the lack of writers. Apparently, in Ken Jennings, they also have a willing host. Not cool, Ken.
However, without writers, the show has had to make some audibles. For instance, they have postponed the Tournament of Champions, mostly because the Champions bowed out in solidarity with the writers before they could even be asked by producers to participate.
The show has also decided to recycle questions (along with some questions that were written before the strike). I suspect they knew there would be backlash to this change — and perhaps they were concerned that it would be difficult to find new contestants willing to cross the picket line — so they went after contestants least likely to reject them: Former Jeopardy losers.
Indeed, with recycled questions comes recycled players. The season will begin with a second chance tournament for players who lost their initial game in season 37, and they will advance to a Season 37 and Season 38 Champions Wild Card.
The idea sounds sketchy. “I believe, principally, that it would not be fair to have new contestants,” Showrunner Michael Davies explained. “Making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek stage, doing it with non-original material, or, as we’ll talk about, a combination of non-original material and material that was written pre-strike. And so we decided that we really needed to invite back, and give a second chance in general, to players who probably thought that their chance to come back and play on the Alex Trebek stage had gone forever.”
So, instead of trying to impress a new partner with new material, Jeopardy will trot out reused material on someone they have already dumped. It feels… scabby. Former Jeopardy champion James Holzhauer agrees, as he posted to X.
I do hope that there will be representatives from the WGA outside picketing Sony studios while taping is underway.