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"Jeopardy!" Producer Explains Champ's Unusual Game Behavior

"It's not our business," she said of the contestant's on-stage setup.

Jeopardy! has gotten a few nips and tucks throughout its 60-year reign on cable television. In 2023, the syndicated game show debuted a snazzy new logo and opening title sequence and ushered in a new wave of champion league-style tournaments, including Jeopardy! Masters and the Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament (JIT). But another subtle difference in last week's episode has gotten fans talking.

Jeopardy! contestant Grant DeYoung is on a winning streak. On May 16, the Arizona grocery clerk edged out social studies teacher Elizabeth Brzozowski and surgeon Chen Yan for his third consecutive win. But DeYoung's breadth of knowledge isn't the only thing that has fans talking—his podium setup has also caught the attention of eagle-eyed viewers.

RELATED: "Jeopardy!" Producers Explain Major On-Air Flub: "Ken Made a Mistake."

Unlike his opponents, DeYoung has spent his Jeopardy! tenure competing from a swivel chair. Typically, contestants assume their positions while standing behind the podium. But in some instances, fans may spot a player sitting rather than standing. Although it isn't unheard of, it is rare.

On the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, producer Sarah Foss acknowledged DeYoung's seated stance while also reminding fans that his personal arrangements are "not our business."

"Now, fans have been noticing that Grant is sitting in a chair during his games," Foss stated on the episode, which dropped May 20. "This is something we always offer to contestants and we don't ask why."

Foss clarified that Jeopardy! contestants have always had the option to request a chair, and it isn't in the show's likeness to deny players a seat no matter their reasoning.

"It's not our business," she reiterated. "If you want a chair, we'll give it to you."


Meanwhile, on Reddit, DeYoung had no issue opening up about his specific podium layout, which includes a black swivel chair equipped with armrests and back support. In a post-game thread, DeYoung revealed that he had requested a chair upfront due to a health condition that makes standing for long periods of time challenging.

"I have some back arthritis that makes standing still for that long very difficult. I wouldn't expect everyone who sits for J to disclose their reason for needing one but I don't mind saying mine," he wrote in the thread.

Arthritis occurs when there is an abundance of swelling and tenderness in your joints, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those with arthritis may experience pain, stiffness, redness, and decrease of motion. Additionally, arthritis that affects weight-bearing joints like your back can "keep you from walking comfortably or sitting up straight," per the clinic.

DeYoung said the process was "pretty easy overall" and that he felt comfortable asking for a seat after watching Tournament of Champions finalist Troy Meyer compete from a chair earlier this year.

"They give it if you ask," DeYoung said.

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

Fans were happy to hear that Jeopardy! was willing and able to accommodate DeYoung's request, and they hope it resonates with aspiring contestants who may otherwise hold back from applying to be on Jeopardy! because of the standing.

"I am so glad Jeopardy has this option. There are so many people who wouldn't be able to stand for the duration of an episode due to various injuries, medical conditions, etcetera," one person commented. "I didn't realize until a family member said they saw arm rests and a swivel during when you were playing."

"It would be fun if Grant wins tomorrow and spins around in his chair to celebrate," reads another comment, to which DeYoung responded: "A good thought, but my knees keep hitting against the podium and I'd likely give them a good smack if I tried (I don't think being 6'4" comes across as dramatically in the chair)."

"Thank you for the insider perspective," the commenter wrote back.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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