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"Jeopardy!" Producers Defend Choice to Bring Back Past Champion: "We Depend on Ratings"

They anticipated pushback when naming Amy Schneider as their pick for Jeopardy! Masters.

Jeopardy! legends are household names these days—and thanks to their quizzing prowess, they make tournaments and other specials that much more fun to watch. Jeopardy! Masters is the next spectacle on the docket, premiering May 1 and featuring reigning Masters champ James Holzhauer; Season 1 Masters finalists Matt Amodio and Mattea Roach; Tournament of Champions (ToC) winner Yogesh Raut; and Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament (JIT) champ Victoria Groce. All five earned their spots in the competition, but one slot was left open for the coveted "Producers' Pick." At the Inside Jeopardy! Live on Tour event on April 12 in New York City, producer Sarah Foss announced that 2022 ToC winner Amy Schneider was their choice to be the sixth and final competitor in the 2024 Jeopardy! Masters.

RELATED: Jeopardy! Slammed for "Shameful" Answer Ruling: "One of the Worst Mistakes I've Seen."

Anticipating some pushback from fans, executive producer Michael Davies joked that he had to "prepare [himself] for the Reddiors," The U.S. Sun reported. However, Davies clarified that several people collectively made the selection.

"So firstly, it's a Producer Pick, but it's not just me. It's all the producers," Davies said at last Friday's event, giving a nod to ABC and Sony.

"We have to acknowledge there were several worthy people. But one person stood above everybody else. I've got to believe they can go on that stage in Masters and beat everybody," Davies said.

But beyond Schneider's skillset, she also has her own fanbase who'll likely tune in to watch her compete—and this was a factor in producers' decision.

"We're a TV program. We depend on ratings," Davies said, per The U.S. Sun.

Schneider was also an attractive pick as she could potentially make for a good comeback story, placing fifth place in the 2023 Jeopardy! Masters and placing second in the 2024 JIT.

"I love a redemption story. I love someone who feels like 'Wow, I just didn't do it,'" Davies said. "What a player. We see how well she deals with the tougher material which is very important in Masters. We see how good she is on the buzzer so we're delighted to have Amy as the sixth pick."

The U.S. Sun reported that Davies' final statements on the Producers' Pick weren't met with any applause. And it appears that Davies was right to speculate about pushback, as there are certainly some grumblings happening on social media.

RELATED: Controversial Jeopardy! Player Slammed for "Rude and Gross" Remark During Game.

Many fans were quick to ask why Schneider was invited, having been defeated by Groce in the JIT, which aired earlier this month. (The winner of the JIT automatically earned a spot in the Masters.)

On Jeopardy!'s Instagram post announcing the competitors, a viewer wrote, "Why was Amy in the Invitational Tournament if she was already gonna be in Season 2 [of the Masters]?"

Another added, "I love Amy but this is very weird! Should be the 3 finalists from last year and the others only return if they win JIT (which Amy could have but didn't). A lot of other good choices were passed over here!"

Yet another said, "Why Amy?? She had [the] chance to be in this tournament and lost. Get someone new in here."

On Reddit, viewers continued to express their disappointment, with one pointing out that Schneider has had her fair share of appearances on Jeopardy! already.

"We've seen Amy on Jeopardy SO many times now," a Redditor wrote. "It's getting to the point where it feels like she appears on the show every few months, and thus, whether true or not, the opinion that Michael Davies is biased towards her certainly holds water. We KNOW she's a good player. We KNOW she has some of the most impressive stats in Jeopardy history. We don't need to be reminded of that fact constantly."

On a separate thread, other fans clarified that they enjoy watching Schneider compete and while they aren't thrilled with the pick, they'll still be tuning in.

"Not a fan of this at all. What was the point of the hype around the JIT if the runner-up can still make it to the Masters anyway?" the Redditor wrote. "Honestly this kinda makes that whole tourney feel cheap. Oh well. Still looking forward to the Masters regardless."

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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