Classic Syndicated ‘Jeopardy!’ Show Indefinitely Delayed, Producers Speak Out

in Movies & TV

Mayim Bialik on the 'Jeopardy!' set

Credit: Jeopardy!

While the Writers Guild of America strikes are over and productions across America are resuming, the classic syndicated Jeopardy! game show is canceled indefinitely.

Ken Jennings (L) and Mayim Bialik (R) on the 'Jeopardy!' set
Credit: NBC

Ever since 1984, Jeopardy! has been broadcast on TV sets all across the United States. Created by Merv Griffin, the show that many know and love today first began in the mid-80s with the late host Alex Trebek leading the gameshow proceedings. Other versions aired during the 60s and 70s.

Unfortunately, Trebek passed away in November 2020 after a 20-month battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. His death shocked the world, and the process of finding his replacement — someone who could live up to his almost 40-year quiz show legacy — was on.

At first, former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings hosted in Trebek’s place, with Sony Pictures Television eventually announcing that guest hosts would step in to present the game show. From Anderson Cooper to Aaron Rogers, Robin Roberts to LeVar Burton, the guests led Jeopardy! until Mike Richards was revealed as the next full-time host.

Mayim Bialik on 'Jeopardy!' set
Credit: ABC

Richards’ tenure was short-lived, thanks to his controversial past resurfacing, and he later stepped down. This paved the way for Jennings and actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik to share hosting duties moving forward.

The pair wrapped the end of Season 38, going on to share duties again through Season 39. During their time with the show, as well as on the ABC primetime specials they both present (Bialik, Celebrity Jeopardy! and Jeopardy! National College Championship; Jennings, the recent Jeopardy! Masters, which was won by James Holzhauer), both hosts have received backlash from viewers.

Bialik has been called out for her inconsistent judging while also being asked to “tone it down” by members of the Jeopardy! Productions team. For Jennings, most of his backlash came later when the Writers Guild of America strikes shut down productions nationwide.

Alex Trebek (left) with Ken Jennings (right) holding 'Jeopardy!' trophy
Credit: ABC

The former winner and host has been called a “scab” by viewers for deciding to, one, carry on hosting the game show, and two, stepping in to host Mayim Bialik’s episodes after The Big Bang Theory star decided to stand with the strikers and leave the show indefinitely.

Despite being called out, with fans bemoaning that the late Alex Trebek would not do such a thing, host Ken Jennings fired back with an article that outlined that Trebek did continue hosting Jeopardy! during the 2007-2008 writers strike.

Due to WGA writers going on strike, the future of Jeopardy! remained uncertain. That was until it was shared that the Tournament of Champions would return, except this time, with pre-written clues as well as recycled material. Upon this news breaking, the show received significant backlash from both viewers and contestants and was ultimately postponed. Instead, to tide fans over, a Second Chance Tournament with contestants from Season 37 was announced, followed by a Champions Wild Card tournament featuring the winners from the Second Chance game and Season 38 winners.

Mayim Bialik on Celebrity Jeopardy!
Credit: ABC

Now, updates have been shared from Jeopardy! Productions about what the future of the game show looks like now that the WGA strikes are over. Michael Davies and Sarah Whitcomb Foss, producers on the show, recently told the Inside Jeopardy! podcast that they cannot wait to welcome the Jeopardy! family home.

The pair confirmed on the podcast that the official post-Season 39 would not take place until the New Year, with Season 40 beginning after that.

“As Foss explained, following the currently airing Wildcard (featuring Season 37 and 38 contestants), the show will move on to another Second Chance (with Season 39 contestants), followed by another Champions Wildcard (with former Season 39 champs), and then the much-anticipated Tournament of Champions,” TV Insider notes.

'Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings asking the Final Jeopardy! clue
Credit: ABC

Related: ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Was Replaced by Artificial Intelligence

So, that leaves four more tournament-style Jeopardy! shows before the official Season 40 classic syndicated show can even get started. And as for a start date? Who knows?

Davies said, “Our number one, sort of, imperative right now is to get the post-season back on track. And then after that, our regular season, as many weeks as possible of the regular season after that post-season.”

The Jeopardy! executive pledged at least 16 weeks of the regular programming but did not state an official return date for the episodes of the 40th season, leaving this classic game show canceled indefinitely while these many, many tournaments play out.

Jeopardy! host Mayim Bialik on set
Credit: ABC

Related: ‘Jeopardy!’ Officials Speak out on “Painful” Episode, Fans Say It’s “One of the Worst Ever”

Currently, there is no word on whether Mayim Bialik will return as host. While WGA has been resolved, the Screen Actors Guild and Association of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes still rage on as more talks between the unions and studios continue behind the scenes.

In other Jeopardy! news, the U.K. iteration of the show will return to the ITV network, with Stephen Fry as host this fall.

When do you think the classic Jeopardy! show will return to TV screens? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Movies & TV

Comments Off on Classic Syndicated ‘Jeopardy!’ Show Indefinitely Delayed, Producers Speak Out