"Jeopardy!" is starting its 38th season, but even avid watchers may not know these fun facts.
The current iteration of the show premiered in 1984, but the original series aired in 1964.
Ken Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak at 74 games.
The show is technically 57 years old.
Both of those shows were canceled, and today's version of "Jeopardy!" premiered in 1984.
There's an unofficial fan-run archive that has nearly every "Jeopardy!" clue in history.
J! Archive files transcripts of every episode of "Jeopardy!"
Fans can find every clue and competitor from the game show's 37 seasons, and according to Slate, the fan site has "changed how the game is played."
Prospective contestants can study up on the 412,883 (and counting) clues, which gives them an edge if/when they make it on the show.
"Jeopardy!" has aired over 8,000 episodes.
The modern iteration of the game show is currently on its 37th season.
According to the official "Jeopardy!" website, the show tapes five episodes a day around 46 days a year for the regular-season episodes, meaning there are about 230 new episodes shot every year.
By the end of the 36th season in 2019, the show had aired 8,000 episodes.
"Jeopardy!" has more Emmys than any other game show.
The show has accumulated 39 Emmy Awards, more than any other game show on television.
"Jeopardy!" has also won a Peabody Award in 2011, which is one of the most prestigious awards in broadcasting.
As of 2016, there have been seven no-win games of "Jeopardy!"
Alex Trebek's given name isn't actually Alex.
The late "Jeopardy!" host was on the show for over 36 seasons, but even longtime fans may not know that his first name isn't actually Alex.
According to Britannica, the Canadian TV personality was born George Alexander Trebek.
Merv Griffin, the creator of the show, also wrote its theme song.
Media mogul Merv Griffin created both "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune," and he's also the man behind the former's iconic theme song.
The song is called "Think," and according to The New York Times, Griffin originally wrote the song as a lullaby for his son — and he did it in less than a minute.
That stroke of genius reportedly earned him around $80 million in royalties by 2010, according to Mental Floss.
The man behind the voice of "Jeopardy!" is Johnny Gilbert.
Most people associate Trebek with "Jeopardy!" but fans may not know that Johnny Gilbert is the announcer who kicks off every show.
Per the "Jeopardy!" website, he's referred to as the show's "resident entertainer."
The record for most consecutive games won is held by Ken Jennings, who won 74.
In 2004, Ken Jennings ended his legendary 74-game run with total earnings of over $2.5 million.
In the regular season, that's the most anyone has ever made playing "Jeopardy!" But Brad Rutter just edges Jennings out if tournaments are included.
His all-time winnings are $4,938,436 and Jennings' are $4,370,700.
There's a team of people who make the video clues.
Sarah Whitcomb Foss and Jimmy McGuire are a part of The Clue Crew, and they've traveled over 1.3 million miles around the world creating video clues for the game show.
According to the show's website, they "have recorded clues in over 300 cities, 46 countries, all 50 states and on all seven continents."
Contestants didn't use to have to wait for the full clue before hitting the buzzer.
Fans of the show know that one of the cardinal rules of the game is that contestants must wait for the host to finish the clue completely before they can press their buzzer. But that wasn't always the case.
According to the official "Jeopardy!" website, earlier on in the show's history, contestants could ring their buzzer at any point during the clue — which led to "quick guesses, negative scores and general confusion."
Now, there's a crew member who's tasked with enabling the players' buttons the moment the final syllable of the last word of the clue is read.
Different things are happening behind-the-scenes during each commercial break.
Jennifer Quail, an eight-time "Jeopardy!" Champion, let fans in on what happens during the game show's commercial breaks.
She wrote on Quora in 2020 that during the first commercial break they film "pickups," or rerecordings for moments where the host or presenter coughed or mispronounced something. The production team also gives the contestants pep talks and tells them if they're doing anything wrong.
During the second commercial break, they continue with any new "pickups" and the two "challenger" contestants (those going up against the reigning champion) take a photo with the host.
The third commercial break is the busiest. Any remaining "pickups" are rerecorded, and the players get a half-sheet of paper for the final wager. They turn that in, and then they have to lock in their answers for the Final Jeopardy question.
Contestants aren't allowed to make certain wagers, including $69.
There are five dollar amounts that "Jeopardy!" contestants aren't allowed to wager on the show.
The sexual innuendo 69 was banned in 2018, according to a 2019 tweet from Jennings. And 32-time "Jeopardy!" winner James Holzhauer added in his own tweet that there are four other banned wagers on the show.
Per Mashable, those numbers seem to be $666, $14, $88, and $1488, the first one because of its satanic connections and the last three for their connection to white supremacy groups.
The show has been known to pull a few April Fool's Day pranks.
Back on April 1, 1997, Trebek and the host of "Wheel of Fortune," Pat Sajak, switched jobs for the day as a prank.
In 2016, the show also pulled off a number of April Fool's jokes.
Trebek walked out without any pants on, the contestants' podium numbers were flipped backward for a few seconds, Trebek wore a fake mustache for a brief moment, and the music from "Wheel of Fortune" played during one of the clues, to name a few.
The lowest score in "Jeopardy!" history is $-6,800.
On March 12, 2015, Stephanie Hull made history as the lowest-scoring "Jeopardy!" contestant. Her final score was $-6,800.
She told Slate in 2020 that she hasn't rewatched her episode since it aired, but she does have some theories about why she did so poorly.
"The Daily Doubles were gotten by the other players and that is really key in terms of strategy," Hull said. "… And the other thing was I buzzed in and answered incorrectly on every $2,000 question."
Even if they end up in the negatives, players always walk away with some money.
Even though some contestants end their run with a negative dollar amount on their podium, they don't actually owe that money to the show, according to Bustle.
In fact, since 2002, every person who has competed on the show has walked away with some compensation.
The winner keeps their score and brings it to the next episode, the second-place contestant walks away with $2,000, and the third-place player gets $1,000.
The compensation is reportedly intended to pay for the players' travel and accommodation costs.
Contestants on the show's Tournament of Champions get to pick a movie to watch in the greenroom.
In 2014, "Jeopardy!" Champion Arthur Chu wrote an article for Mental Floss detailing his experience at that year's Tournament of Champions.
He shared that while the contestants are waiting in the greenroom in between their rounds, they all vote on a DVD to watch. And there's a little bit of strategy that goes into the decision.
"The movies are all vetted by 'Jeopardy!'s' writing staff to ensure they contain no spoilers for the tournament itself," he wrote. "This means that it's to your advantage to pick a movie that contains a lot of pop culture references that you can tick off in your mind as things that won't come up."
When Trebek was hosting, the show filmed a week's worth of episodes in one day.
According to the official "Jeopardy!" website, the show usually tapes all of its episodes for the week in a single day.
In 2016, when Trebek was still hosting the show, the site took fans through a typical filming day.
The host would wake up at 5:15 a.m., pull up to the studio around 6 a.m., and immediately start his preshow rituals — which included reading the newspaper and doing the crossword. After reading through all the shows' scripts, the first of five filmings begins.
Before each taping, Trebek changes into a new suit.
He was typically on his way home by 4:15 p.m.
The most someone could win on a single episode is over $500,000, but no one ever has.
According to Wired, the highest possible score on a single game of "Jeopardy!" is $566,400. But no one has gotten close to attaining that.
In the wake of Trebek's death, the show is screen-tested a number of potential hosts.
The iconic host started off the show's 37th season in September 2020, and his final episode aired in January.
The show announced that it would be resuming production with a number of guest hosts — starting with Jennings. Public figures like news anchor Katie Couric and NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers even tried their hand at hosting the legendary game show.
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