Jeopardy! Masters: Post-Quarterfinals Review

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to think about Jeopardy! Masters going into the competition. After the first seven episodes, I definitely feel as though I should not have been as worried as I was. In the competition thus far, we have seen some incredibly high-level play and some of the best games of Jeopardy! ever played. However, I also don’t think that Jeopardy! Masters is perfect. There are definitely things that I’d like to see a Season 2 of Jeopardy! Masters do differently (assuming there is a Season 2):

1) 10 Episodes Wasn’t Enough; 13 Is The Perfect Number

C(6,3) = 20. When it appeared that ABC requested a final, they took a perfectly mathematical format and decided it wasn’t acceptable for their taste. (Which certainly led me to wonder if anyone at ABC actually understands mathematics.) However, there is a very simple solution to this season’s decreed truncation of the quarterfinals: expand the tournament to 13 episodes. That would give us a 10-episode first stage with all 20 3-player combinations of the 6 Masters, a 2-episode second stage with all 4 3-player combinations of the top 4 from the second stage, and a two-game total-point final stage in Episode 13. This would please both ABC—who clearly wanted a final—and the show & fans—many of whom were looking forward to the mathematical perfection of the original 10-episode format.

However, this leads to my second point…

2) 3–4 Episodes A Week Is A Bit Much

May 2023 is the busiest month in Jeopardy! history, with the usual 23 syndicated games on the schedule in addition to 20 games’ worth of Jeopardy! Masters. The 43 games of Jeopardy! is unprecedented in the show’s history, and it feels like a lot for everyone, those who cover the show included. After this same feedback was definitely given to the show itself after last year’s Jeopardy! National College Championship, it definitely feels as though fan feedback, in this case, is being ignored. Turning Masters into a weekly event will allow for the hype to build over the course of several weeks while also preventing Jeopardy! burnout amongst its most diehard fans.

What Did I Think About Revealing The Daily Doubles?

I enjoyed this change a great deal for Jeopardy! Masters; knowing where the Daily Doubles were on the board allowed me to experience both the crescendo of rising action as the players got closer to them on the board and the resulting letdown if the contestants switched categories away from them. It was an excellent addition to Jeopardy! Masters to make the gameplay feel different from the syndicated show, and I would be OK if this change stayed Masters-only.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’d give Jeopardy! Masters a rating of 9.0/10; the two things above are keeping the show from perfection, in my opinion.

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14 Comments on "Jeopardy! Masters: Post-Quarterfinals Review"

  1. I mostly agree, but if you’re going to play all {6 \choose 3} matches, I think you should just skip the 4 player match and take the top 3 point getters to the finals. Then it’d only be 11 episodes.

    • I like the extra hoop for the eventual winner to jump through; plus, 13 is a traditional number of TV episodes for a short season in the United States.

      • Yes, I noticed that about the 13 episodes. I can’t imagine them having this every year as I don’t think these top players would want to keep doing it over and over, nor that enough viewers would be interested in much lesser players. But once they have some more superb players (and maybe SOME of these would be willing to go again), if they do choose to have another one, maybe they will decide far enough ahead of time that they can schedule a weekly 13-episode show in an even better (for ABC) time period.

    • Michael Johnston | May 25, 2023 at 8:59 pm | Reply

      I like that idea. Simple, and adds an extra game while not making it enervatingly long. The three-four games per week are a bit much IMO, but (again, with a mind to not let the Tournament overstay its welcome) I’d suggest perhaps going to a twice-a-week schedule instead of once-a-week. Particularly if we kept the semi-finals in the mix and went to 13 games.

      Another idea I thought of, particular to the semi-finals, is to make it a total point affair like the finals. That seems like it might be unwieldy for viewers to grasp fully though, although it would lessen the need for tiebreakers.

  2. I enjoyed what you said about Revealing The Daily Doubles. It was basically what I had forecast about the attraction of them doing so, but much better said (and based on observation instead of presumption).

    However, I think I would enjoy seeing it continue in syndicated Jeopardy! as it makes it even easier to see the pattern of some players hunting for them, some just totally leaving it to chance, and some maybe even trying to avoid them (though I’m not really sure one would be able to guess that).

  3. I would like to see the second set of players isolated during the first game, then use the same questions when the second group plays that evening. I think you would then see a more accurate reading of the winner.

    • I’m not sure if you listen to Inside Jeopardy!, but that idea has been floated; I think the biggest concern is that while it would be fairest for the actual game, Jeopardy! is as much for the home viewer as it is the players in-studio, and it would undoubtedly be less enjoyable for the viewers at home to hear the same clues twice in a row.

      • I would actually enjoy that very much (just for Masters shows) and would even want to see the DDs placed in the same locations. However, though I do not think it would just be Rebecca and I who would like to see this, I do agree that it would be less enjoyable for many home viewers [or, anyway, that they’d expect it would be].

        But maybe it could be used for the semifinals or as a tweak to the last two games (or two episodes) of the quarterfinals [my second choice to doing all the games that way, since at that point, all are still in the game].

        It might be a way of encouraging these players to come back next year to keep it from being a “been there, done that” situation (especially if used for all the quarterfinals). And maybe a way to allow the clues to be even a wee bit more difficult [especially since that could slow down the buzzer responses a tick, resulting in an additional element of “fairness” due to buzzer speed being affected a bit more by knowledge (or willingness to bet maybe you can think of the correct response fast enough after buzzing) rather than mostly finger reaction speed]?

  4. I really enjoyed the episodes!

  5. More more more! Ken is the maestro, the masters provide the symphony.

  6. I’ve really enjoyed Masters, but I think the format needs tinkering. They play all these games over two weeks, and James is clearly dominant, with six runaways in seven games. Then, all the sudden, that whole body of work is thrown away, and we just have this tiny slice remaining where it basically comes down to a few daily doubles to determine the champion.

    I would suggest playing 20 games over 10 episodes, all with the same 6 players, and whoever wins the most games wins the title, or it could be whoever wins the most points wins, with the same system- 3 points for a win, 2 for second, etc). However, in order to keep things interesting in case one player locks up the competition with several nights remaining, allow the winner of each game to take home his final score each game as additional earnings. This would prevent all these joke responses we get in final. You could also say the winner gets an additional 40k or 50k with each game they win, but again, you get joke responses then. To compensate financially, cut the prizes in half in terms of how much is earned for final place. (1st place only gets 250k instead of 500k, etc).

  7. Please do more Jeopardy Masters! 10x more fun than regular. Thrilling and educational!

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