‘Jeopardy!’ turns 60: Game show’s new hosts, outraged fans and ‘woke’ questions in spotlight

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By Usa Express Daily


“Jeopardy!” is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The trivia game show debuted on March 30, 1964, and ran for over 10 years before going off the air in January 1975. Following a brief break, during which a spinoff called “The All-New Jeopardy!” aired from 1978 to 1979, the version of the show audiences know and love today returned in September 1984, featuring host Alex Trebek.

In the 40 years since the program came back, not only would ‘Jeopardy!’ go on to become one of the longest-running game shows on TV, Trebek would also become the longest-running host on television, presiding over more than 8,000 episodes over almost 37 seasons. Since Trebek’s death in November 2020, however, the show has seen its fair share of its ups and downs.

Here’s a look at “Jeopardy!” over the past few years.

“Jeopardy!” has gone through many changes since Alex Trebek, left, passed away in November 2020. Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik, right, were among those to serve as guest hosts. (Getty Images)

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‘Part of the game’

Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik split

Jennings and Bialik ultimately took over hosting duties following the death of Trebek. (Getty Images)

Following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek, a series of guest hosts took over, with showrunners eventually landing on Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik as permanent co-hosts of the show.

Jennings was no stranger to the show, having previously been on as a contestant, and gaining popularity after winning 74 games in a row and becoming the contestant with the longest winning streak, a record he still holds. Bialik was relatively new to the show, having guest hosted a few times, but was just as eager and excited to be one of its new hosts.

“It’s just a very intense adrenaline experience you kind of chase for the rest of your life,” Jennings said on the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast in August 2022 about hosting. “And when the games get really good out here, when the players are really cooking, and it’s intense, and it’s close, I kind of feel like I’m in there playing, you’re part of the game. You’re part of the show. There’s this transcendent thing that happens where the audience is locked in, and I just look for that.”

Jennings and Bialik took turns hosting the main show, as well as the many spin-off tournaments, with Bialik taking the reins as the sole host of “Celebrity Jeopardy!”

‘No longer’ hosting

Mayim Bialik in a red pantsuit hosting "Jeopardy!"

Bialik announced she was let go from the show in December. (Tyler Golden/ABC via Getty Images)

Bialik initially chose not to return to season 40 of the iconic game show, in order to show her support of the then-ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. However, in December 2023, she announced she had been permanently let go from the show.

“As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some ‘Jeopardy!’ news. Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of ‘Jeopardy!'” Bialik announced on Instagram. “I am incredibly honored to have been nominated for a primetime Emmy for hosting this year and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the ‘Jeopardy!’ family.”

“Jeopardy!” executive producer Michael Davies shed some light on the decision to let Bialik go, explaining he was “forced into” the two-host deal after Bialik landed the starring role on the sitcom “Call Me Kat.”

Davies went on to say that the decision came down to their desire to have more “consistency” on the show, adding that throughout the past two and a half seasons the feedback they were getting was that people “wanted a single host.”

Mayim Bialik hosting "Celebrity Jeopardy!"

“Jeopardy!” executive producer Michael Davies explained that they let Bialik go to get more consistency on the show. (Tyler Golden/ABC via Getty Images)

“Mayim is a superb host,” he said during the “Unscripted Storytellers” panel at the 2024 Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in February. “We hope to keep working with her on primetime versions and other spinoffs. Those conversations are ongoing — but Ken really won the job.”  

Prior to announcing her exit, Bialik had received a fair amount of criticism from viewers who didn’t appreciate her hosting style. Some complaints from fans were that she took too long to transition after a contestant answered a question, she was inconsistent in her rulings and was overly harsh at times.

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When Jennings took over hosting “Celebrity Jeopardy!” during the strikes, fans took to X, formerly Twitter, to celebrate, with one writing, “I might actually watch it now that [Bialik] isn’t hosting.”

“It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim, and I’m gonna miss her,” Jennings told The Hollywood Reporter in December. “I can’t speak to her decision-making process or her opinions about it.”

‘That’s Misleading’

Ken Jennings and three contestants posing for a photo after Final Jeopardy!

The show has upset fans recently due to some confusing clues. (Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images)

The show has angered fans in recent seasons for providing contestants with confusing clues, leading them to get the question wrong.

In one instance, contestant Scott Plummer lost almost all his earnings during Double Jeopardy! The category was titled: “That’s Misleading,” and asked contestants to identify compound words from the clue. After Plummer picked the final $2,000 Daily Double of the night, he was presented with the clue, “Paintings seen along the sloping path for wheelchairs,” to which he answered “something ramp.” The correct answer was “rampart,” which angered fans.

“I’m usually on the side of the writers, but DD3 was bullsh–. Literally every other clue in the “That’s Misleading” category gave the two halves in the same order as the correct response compound word (banana split, fishbowl, etc.),” one user wrote. 

Others pointed out that “rampart” isn’t even a compund word and shouldn’t have been included in the category.

Fans also took issue with the Final Jeopardy clue in a February episode, which confused the wildcard champions. The clue read, “The distance between its 2 legs at ground level is 630 feet, making it as wide as it is tall,” and was under the category “Landmarks.”

The Gateway Arch and Ken Jennings split

Fans didn’t think a clue having to do with the Gateway Arch was fair. (Getty Images)

Two contestants guessed the Eiffel Tower, while another guessed the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, and all three were wrong, as the correct answer was revealed to be the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The incorrect guess cost two of the contestants to lose everything, as well as the competition, and to ultimately miss out on a spot in the Champions Wildcard semifinals.

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“Gateway Arch was my gut reaction as well, but then I became worried that it doesn’t really have ‘legs,'” one fan wrote on the show’s Reddit forum, with another writing, “I’m guessing ‘legs’ is just a very unusual way to describe what they meant? It’s not the first word I’d use — ‘ends’ maybe?” 

‘Woke’ clues

Contestants competing on "Jeopardy! Masters"

The show cane under fire recently when a “woke” clue was given. (Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images)

Some of the show’s fans did not like a clue in another February episode of the show, prompting them to accuse the show of going “woke.”

In the category “Speech! Parts of Speech!,” the $600 clue read, “xem, xyrs, xemself,” to which a contestant answered, “what are pronouns?” The answer was correct, with Jennings explaining they are considered “neopronouns,” which means new pronouns.

“So, in order to win at Jeopardy, you need to be able to keep up with whatever bull the wokes are coming up with?” one person asked on X. Another chimed in, saying, “The woke crowd has claimed another. That’s OK. I have my King James Bible to read. Like God, that will never change.”

“They didn’t waste time making Alex start spinning in his grave; did they?” another fan wrote.

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‘Triple stumper’

Ken Jennings hosting "Jeopardy!"

Contestants have been left stumped on more than a few occasions recently. (Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images)

Sometimes, even when the prompts are clear, contestants still have a hard time getting to the right answer. On a recent episode of “Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions,” all three contestants were stumped by a Taylor Swift question.

The $400 clue in the category “Songs of Youth” read, “Inspired by her bestie, Tay Tay sang when ‘somebody tells you they love you’ at this title age ‘you’re gonna believe them.'” The contestants guessed 17 and 22, with the correct answer being 15, a song which Swift said was inspired by her high school best friend, Abigail Anderson.

“We’re gonna get killed for that,” one of the contestants said after the correct answer was revealed.

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“The only wrong response in the entire last #Jeopardy episode is of a Tay Tay song. Don’t let the Swifties know about this…,” one X user wrote, with another writing, “I can’t believe the one triple stumper this episode was about Taylor Swift.”



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