"Jeopardy!" Host Just Revealed This Behind-the-Scenes Secret
Mayim Bialik shared one aspect of the game show that audiences never see.
Think you're a Jeopardy! expert because you've been religiously tuning into the game show for years? Well, we hate to break it to you, but there are aspects of the game that you'll still never been privy to watching from home. In a recent podcast interview, one of Jeopardy!'s current hosts, Mayim Bialik, revealed one such secret, and it's something that you'd only be aware of if you were in the room while the show was filming. Read on to find out what Bialik says is regularly cut out of Jeopardy! episodes, even though it happens all the time.
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Bialik is just one of the current Jeopardy! hosts.
After the death of long-time host Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! began using a series of guest hosts, some of whom were auditioning to keep the job. In Aug. 2021, it was announced that executive producer Mike Richards would get the gig, but he stepped down from the hosting post and the show after a number of problematic comments and workplace complaints from his previous role at The Price Is Right resurfaced. Through July 2022, Bialik is sharing hosting duties with prior Jeopardy! champ, Ken Jennings.
She opened up about an unseen aspect of the game recently.
Last month, Bialik was a guest on Steve-O's Wild Ride!, and she pulled the curtain back on how contested and alternate correct answers are dealt with on the Jeopardy! set.
"We sometimes shut down for close to an hour over one decision, so you don't see that, you just see, 'Oh, they rule on this,'" Bialik explained. "But any episode where we correct someone's score, like, 'The judges have ruled that mahogany is also an acceptable tree that begins with an m' or whatever it is, that usually means we've shut down for like an hour."
She gave a recent example of how one answer can impact a whole game.
The host gave the tree example because it had just occurred during an actual game in the National College Championship. During the first semifinal in February, contestant Raymond Goslow's score was positively adjusted after the judges determined that his response of "What is mulberry?" also fit the clue of a tree that begins with "m" and ends in "y" and produces reddish-brown wood. To show how important the scoring of one answer can be: Goslow ended up winning that game, moving onto the finals, and coming in second place for the entire tournament.
"It can change the course of the game," Bialik said. "I mean, I saw the movie Quiz Show, I know how intense [it can be]."
There's always a lawyer on the Jeopardy! set.
Jeopardy! contestants are playing for both bragging rights and money, and the long-running show has a reputation to maintain. So the integrity of play is of the utmost importance. Production takes it so seriously that there's always a lawyer on set to advise on any situations that may arise.
"There's a lawyer on set all day, a lawyer from Standards and Practices," Bialik said on Wild Ride. "Imagine going to law school, and you get placed sitting on Jeopardy!. They just sit and make sure that everything's kosher."
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The show prepares for confusing situations.
Bialik went into more detail about how Jeopardy! tries to get ahead of clues that may lead to different responses, more than one of which may be considered correct.
"I think it's so fascinating how a show like Jeopardy! is constructed. Like, the number of pieces and opinions and things that go into every single clue. So for certain things, they'll already list other acceptable answers for things where a couple answers are acceptable, or they'll make a note like, 'Oh, if they say this, they need to be more specific,' so I'm learning those things," Bialik said.
She also explained that the judges are watching her on a monitor and can see if she's waffling over whether to accept someone's answer.
"But sometimes [the contestants] come up with something, and I'm just like, I don't know," she said. "So I have a light [on my podium] that turns green if it's a go and turns red if it's not."
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