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    Contestants Are Forbidden From Bidding $69, Plus 25 Other Behind-The-Scenes "Jeopardy" Facts

    The composer of the theme song made over $80 million from the jingle!

    1. The show was originally pitched with the title What's the Question? because of its unique formatting. However, when a network executive claimed there weren't enough "jeopardies" in the program, the name was changed.

    A 1964 game board from "Jeopardy!"

    2. Jeopardy first aired in 1964 with Art Fleming as the host.

    Vintage Jeopardy contestants with Art Fleming
    Sony Pictures / NBCUniversal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    NBC canceled the program in 1975 because of a lack of daytime viewers.

    3. Alex Trebek took over hosting duties when the daily syndicated version of the show debuted in 1984.

    Alex Trebek hosting "Jeopardy!"
    ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Trebek was no stranger to hosting game shows. Prior to Jeopardy, he hosted The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare (no, not the Nickelodeon version), The $128,000 Question, and The New High Rollers. 

    4. Both Jeopardy hosts died from pancreatic cancer. Fleming died from the disease in 1995 and Trebek died in 2020, nearly two years after he announced his stage 4 diagnosis.

    A screen reading "Dedicated to Alex Trebek forever in our hearts always our inspiration"
    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    5. The creator of Jeopardy, Merv Griffin, also created Wheel of Fortune.

    People playing "Wheel of Fortune"
    Califon Productions / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The sister shows are both filmed on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, California. 

    6. Griffin also composed the Jeopardy theme music, titled "Think." He created the 30-second jingle in less than a minute as a lullaby to help his 5-year-old son fall asleep. Griffin told the New York Times he made anywhere from $70 million to $80 million from the tune!

    View this video on YouTube

    Sony Pictures / Via

    7. Griffin died in 2007, and his tombstone reads, "I will not be right back after this message," a funny nod to his legendary game show history.

    Merv Griffin's tombstone that says "I will not be right back after this message"
    Joseph Mckenna / Getty Images

    8. Trebek and Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak swapped hosting duties on their shows for April Fools' Day in 1997.

    Pat Sajak posing and Alex Trebek standing together and each holding an Emmy Award
    Adrian Sanchez-gonzalez / AFP via Getty Images

    Sajak hosted a regular episode of Jeopardy with three unsuspecting contestants. Meanwhile, Sajak and Vanna White spun the wheel on Trebek's episode, both playing for charity. 

    You can watch the full episode of Sajak hosting Jeopardy here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    And watch Trebek's full episode of Wheel of Fortune here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    9. Thousands apply every year to appear on the show, but only 400 people are chosen. With a 0.4% acceptance rate, it's easier to get accepted into an Ivy League school than to land a spot on the Jeopardy stage.

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    10. Each player films a "hometown howdy." These bite-size introductory videos air on local affiliate stations to promote the contestant's upcoming appearance.

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    You can watch some "hometown howdies" here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    11. The production team films five episodes in just one day!

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    12. Contestants and game boards are chosen at random to ensure there is no cheating.

    Trebek addressing contestants on the show
    ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

    There are six game boards to choose from for each shooting day, and the show's compliance officer picks five at random. 

    13. Trebek rarely missed a beat, likely because he spent an hour and a half reading show scripts and mastering pronunciations before the show.

    Alex reviewing game scripts before the show
    Business Insider / Via

    14. During commercial breaks, Trebek would answer questions from the audience, since he was not permitted to interact with the players.

    Alex talking to the audience
    Business Insider / Via

    15. Contestants never knew which of their personal stories Trebek would highlight during the episode.

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    Prior to competing on the show, all players fill out a questionnaire about their hobbies and interests. Trebek would choose which topic he wished to discuss while taping. 

    16. Players are instructed to arrive at the studio with three outfits because the returning champion will be required to change before filming more games.

    Ken Jennings in three different outfits on "Jeopardy"
    Sony Pictures Television

    17. If you buzz too early, the game will lock you out for multiple seconds. Ken Jennings told Cracked the game is more about reflexes than speed because each contestant needs to wait for the question to be finished before jumping in with an answer.

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    18. The show prohibits contestants from bidding $69, because of its sexual connotations; $666, for its satanic meaning; and $14, $88, and $1,488 because of their white supremacist associations.

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    19. Fans can blame the pen and tablet behind each podium for the bad handwriting, which flashes onscreen during Final Jeopardy.

    A Final Jeopardy answer that is just a drawing
    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    Jennings told Cracked, "It's like writing with an icicle on glass." 

    20. James Holzhauer holds the record for the highest single-game score recorded in Jeopardy history, winning $131,127.

    James winning $131,127
    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    The highest score a contestant can earn for an individual game is $566,400, but to this day, no player has ever come close.

    21. And Patrick Pearce holds the record for the lowest single-game score of -$7,400.

    Patrick Pearce standing in front of a podium reading -$7,400
    NBCUniversal / Sony Pictures Television

    22. Regardless of their score, losing contestants don’t ever owe money to the show. In fact, the second-place winner walks away with $2,000, and the third-place winner earns $1,000 for participating.

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    23. The show has earned four Guinness World Records: Announcer John Gilbert holds the record for the longest career as a game show announcer for a single show, Trebek has the most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter, and the series has the most Emmy Award wins of any game show, in addition to holding the record for the longest-running quiz show of all time.

    Alex Trebek holding a Guinness World Record
    E. Charbonneau / WireImage for Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment / Getty Images

    Jeopardy has earned a whopping 41 Emmy Awards!

    24. Out of 9,200 episodes, only 7 had no winner.

    All three players with $0 on their podium
    Sony Pictures Television

    No-win games occur if all contestants finish with $0. 

    25. The Clue Crew, established in 2001, travels to locations around the world in order to provide exclusive visuals for entire categories or individual clues. Sarah Whitcomb Foss and Jimmy McGuire have recorded clues in 300 cities and 46 countries and on all seven continents.

    Sony Pictures Television / Via

    26. And finally, there are eight writers for the show who produce 230 games a season. For those keeping score at home, that's 14,030 clues!

    Alex Trebek sitting down with writers of "Jeopardy"
    Business Insider / Via

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