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"Jeopardy!" Fans Are "Beyond Sick" of New Rule Change

Producers have hinted that it might be rolled back because of viewer feedback.

A change that's been enacted on this season of Jeopardy! has not been a welcome one for many viewers. If you regularly watch the long-running game show, you may have noticed that the gameplay now feels a little less smooth. That's because Jeopardy! now requires contestants to say the entire category name every time they select their clue, as reported by The U.S. SunSome fans are railing against the new rule, and Jeopardy! producers have addressed the backlash.

RELATED: Jeopardy! Producer Defends "Hard to Watch" On-Air Moment.

In the past, contestants have been able to shorten the name of the category when choosing a clue. This is no longer allowed. For instance, when a recent category was the lengthy "During Lou Gehrig's Consecutive Game Streak," competitors had to repeat the entire phrase every time they wanted to hear an answer from that subject, rather than shortening it to something like "Lou Gehrig" or "Game Streak." In the past, contestants commonly shortened category names when they were long or easy to stumble over.

On the official Jeopardy! podcast, Inside Jeopardy!, producer Sarah Whitcomb Foss explained that the change is "not really a rule, a suggestion" that the competitors have been given.

"Everyone has a lot of opinions, but we heard viewers are having trouble with where people were going on the game board and couldn't really follow it," Whitcomb Foss explained, adding, "It's not set in stone; it's just a recommendation." She added that those behind the show would like to know what viewers think of the change, and said, "Nothing can't be changed or altered, but we've made it through every clue [each game] this season."

"Jeopardy!" categories on a December 2023 episode
Jeopardy! / YouTube

The U.S. Sun reports that during an October episode of Inside Jeopardy!, Whitcomb Foss said that another option producers explored was putting the category name on the screen along with the clue for viewers at home, only they found that there "isn't enough room." She explained, "By the time you get one of these long categories and the text of the clue, it didn't really work to fit that way."

As for the current state of the game, Jeopardy! producers are certainly getting the feedback they requested.

"Honestly, I find it annoying when the full category title is read, esp after a few clues in the category have already been played. I think it slows down the game," wrote one viewer on Reddit. Another posted, "It drives me nuts and takes too much time!" One joked that the producers are going to use longer category names when they "want to give less money away."

Referencing the Gehrig category in particular, a Reddit user wrote, "The producers forcing contestants to say 'During Lou Gehrig's Consecutive Game Streak' every time is ridiculous." Someone responded, "I'm beyond sick of this rule."

On X (formerly Twitter), a fan posted, "Not loving the requirement for contestants to read out the 'full category title' for each clue. Shortened references to categories are part of the JOY of watching Jeopardy! Some players are especially clever, and it's a hoot."

Some Jeopardy! contestants have also weighed in. David Maybury posted on Reddit, "We were told this was a new rule. I was gently chided a couple times when I shortened categories." In response, Sam Stapleton wrote, "Interesting – my recollection was that we were asked to please try to say the full category name, but I don't believe we were told it was a 'rule.'" To this, Maybury clarified, "I think maybe I was strong calling it a rule, but it was a specific instruction I was corrected mid-game (during the commercial break) for not following."

Contestant Daniel Nguyen posted, "We were asked to say categories in their entirety. I think it's to help remind the audience the category of each clue." Summing up what many fans on the Reddit thread said, one viewer responded to Nguyen, "I hope they tighten up some of the longer category names then. I don't want clues left on the board because contestants are stumbling over long category names."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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