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Behind-The-Scenes Facts And Stories About 'Jeopardy!'

Updated November 9, 2020 11.2k votes 1.3k voters 104.3k views22 items

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Category: Behind the scenes of Jeopardy! for $200.

As one of the most successful quiz shows in history, Jeopardy! relies on a steady stream of trivia enthusiasts to come to Los Angeles and compete in front of a studio audience.

But how does Jeopardy! work behind the scenes? Where do Jeopardy! contestants stay? And what are Jeopardy! audience rules? The show has certain systems, traditions, and regulations in place to ensure that the game is fair and fun for contestants and audience members alike. From Alex Trebek's work routine to the show's intense audition process, Jeopardy! behind-the-scenes facts and stories pull back the curtain to reveal the surprising inner workings of the popular show.

  • 1

    Alex Trebek's Usual Breakfast On Taping Days Was A Diet Soda And Candy

    Due to the marathon nature of Jeopardy! tapings, contestants, and crew members alike need to keep up their energy. 

    To that end, Alex Trebek didn't skip breakfast, but shared in 2014 that his morning-meal routine is a bit nontraditional:

    [M]y breakfast of champions for years was a Snickers and a Diet Pepsi, and this past year I ran into a nutritionist who said, "Oh, Alex, that's terrible! You've got to be eating better than that at the start of the day." So I changed. I stopped eating Snickers and Diet Pepsi and I replaced them with Milky Ways and Diet Cokes, so you're not going to catch me eating properly in the mornings.

    In 2019, however, Trebek claimed that he replaced candy with a granola bar.

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  • 2

    Home Viewers Didn't See Alex Trebek's Flubs Or When Contestants Challenge Wrong Answers

    Even though Jeopardy! is predicated on information being correct, the show isn't always perfect - glitches and mess-ups do happen, though they are edited out of the show before it airs on television.

    When Jeopardy! airs, it also leaves out some of the show's components. Contestants can challenge questions and answers they believe are incorrect; at-home viewers don't see this process. 

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  • 3

    For Final Jeopardy, The Crew Watches Contestants Fill Out Their Wagers

    Before Final Jeopardy - the last question on the show - contestants wager a specific amount of money based on the category of the clue and what they've already earned. Crew members watch contestants write down their wagers in the commercial break before Final Jeopardy.

    The crew members also spot-check the legibility of contestants' responses. As former contestant Jack Dickey recalled of his time during Final Jeopardy:

    "I wrote down my wager on the screen; a crew member asked me to write it again, because the top of my 9 wasn't plump enough and wouldn't look right on TV. (They're so careful not to give any player an unfair advantage that they didn't confirm my wager with me verbally; instead the crew member checking my wager wrote a '9' on a piece of paper and asked if that indeed was the number I intended to have as the second digit in my wager.)"

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  • 4

    Alex Trebek Spent 90 Minutes Before Each Taping Going Over The Answers, Taking Notes, And Marking Anything He Deemed Questionable

    Alex Trebek's investment in Jeopardy! ran deep, and he took quality control very seriously. Before a day of taping, Trebek actually read and made notes about all of the clues to be sure there weren't any issues with them. He even discussed them with the producers, writers, and researchers, as he explained:

    "I get the games at 7:30 [am], and after an hour and a half of work on them, I'll go into a production meeting with our writers and the producers, and we'll review the material to see if there are any conflicts. The games are selected at random, so there is the possibility that a clue in one game might be similar to a clue or a subject in another game, and we don't want that, 'cause if we allow that to remain, it might appear that we were favoring one contestant over the others."


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