Michael Davies has announced Jeopardy!‘s plans for Season 40.
The show’s Executive Producer went on the Inside Jeopardy podcast this week to outline how the show plans on operating for the coming few months.
In good news for the show: the show’s consolation prizes will be increased for regular play. Second place will now earn $3,000; third place will now earn $2,000.
It was also outlined that the show had initially planned on starting Season 40 with postseason play (Second Chance, a Champion’s Wildcard Tournament, and a Tournament of Champions.) Regular play was scheduled to resume about 10.5 weeks into the season, with a further tournament in February to fill the last spot(s) in Season 2 of Masters, and a high school or college tournament in May.
However, that is now not happening as planned. The “Season 39” postseason, as was announced a couple of weeks ago, will be postponed until the writers return from their current strike. However, Season 40 is going to debuting with a “Season 37 Second Chance”, followed by a “Season 37 & 38 Champion’s Wildcard”, with winning, but not ToC-qualifying, contestants to be returning. The specific invitees for these events were not announced. Regular play appears to not be continuing until the writers return. (Due to this delay in the start of regular play, regular play contestants will be afforded an extra six months in the contestant pool.)
It was also mentioned that the clues for these first shows of Season 40 would be a combination of fresh WGA-written material and past material from past seasons. (It should be noted that the show operated in this fashion over the 2007–08 strike.) The Celebrity Jeopardy tournament was finalized before the strike and will enter production with fresh material.
Further changes to the presentation will potentially be coming, including the possibility that category names will appear on screen with clues.
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With regards to the increase in consolation prizes: I am incredibly happy to see these prizes increase. It was such a joke within the community that a very believable April Fool’s joke was published by this site in 2021 on this subject. Here’s hoping that the extra consolation money is able to ensure that no contestant has to suffer a loss in order to compete on the show.
With regards to Season 37 Second Chance & Season 37/38 Champion’s Wildcard: The show here has simply transferred the moral dilemma of “should I play under these conditions?” from fresh regular contestants to potentially returning contestants. It’s clearly very difficult for these players, and I guess the idea that “they wouldn’t have received a chance otherwise” makes it slightly better, but it’s still not an ideal situation for any potential contestant to be in. It’s clear that the show feels it important to continue production, but I don’t really see the difference between “regular play” and “bringing back old players” here.
With regards to the reused material: It is clear that the show believes it is right to act the way it is here. If the Writers Guild of America disagrees with how the show is choosing to operate, there are grievance mechanisms in place for that to play out. I should reiterate that the show did operate in this fashion during the 2007–08 strike without issue. I should also make it clear that I believe that fans should follow the WGA’s lead here, and that calls for boycotts should not happen unless the WGA makes that request of viewers. I should also make it clear that I believe that journalists choosing to amplify a small, yet vocal, minority of angry fans are acting irresponsibly and are not accurately portraying the viewpoint of the fans as a whole.
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