"Jeopardy!" Won't Return to Normal Until April 2024—And Fans Are Furious
The show's producers revealed their updated plans for the current season.
The Writers Guild of America strike brought major changes to Jeopardy! this year—as well as considerable controversy. But now that the WGA strike is over, does that mean the show is going back to business as usual? Not quite yet, fans recently learned. On the Oct. 2 episode of the official Jeopardy! podcast Inside Jeopardy!, producer Sarah Foss and executive producer Michael Davies shared updated plans for the currently airing Season 40. Unfortunately for viewers looking forward to regular, non-tournament-style Jeopardy!, the wait for new, traditional episodes is going to be a long one.
Read on to find out when you'll be able to watch regular season Jeopardy! and to learn about what the show will look like in the meantime.
Jeopardy! has several tournaments still coming up.
On Inside Jeopardy!, Foss and Davies revealed that the priority is to air the post-season tournaments for Season 39.
"We get to get into our official post-season," Foss said. "Second Chance for our Season 39 contestants. We've got Champions Wildcard for those Season 39 contestants. Then we've got the [Tournament of Champions]. It's going to be the biggest field we've ever featured in TOC history … and then the [Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament]. The JIT is happening … and then feeding into the pyramid, Michael, [Jeopardy!] Masters. I'm just so grateful that we get to talk about these plans in the way they were intended."
Davies added, "Our number one imperative right now is to get our post-season back on track."
New clues are on the way.
Season 40 of Jeopardy! began airing in September, with a Second Chance tournament for contestants from Season 37. Winners from this competition advance to a Champions Wildcard featuring contestants from Seasons 37 and 38. This change was put into effect because the WGA strike prevented writers from producing new clues. Consequently, Jeopardy! has been utilizing a mix of recycled clues and ones that were written prior to the strike. Davies previously explained that he didn't want new contestants to compete for the first time with recycled clues.
Now, though, the strike is over, and WGA members can write new clues.
"I want to get original material back on the show as soon as possible, and that's something we're starting to work on with the writers," Davies said on Inside Jeopardy!. "They have a lot of pent-up clues and I'm sure they're going to write like the wind, but we want them always to have the time they need. What they write really is quality, it takes time, so we won't sacrifice that."
Regular season play won't be back for a while.
Even though the strike is over and new clues are being written, it will be several months before fans see regular episodes with new contestants. According to the producers, there are still many weeks of tournament play scheduled.
"I do want to assure everybody, this gives us, fortunately, this strike being over, we are going to get to multiple weeks of regular … new contestants who have never been on the Alex Trebek stage before," Davies said on the podcast. "Not in a competition format, not in a tournament format. We're going to get to that at the end of the season. We should have at least 16 weeks at the end."
Foss added, "Depending on how long some of these other competitions go it could be even longer … We're looking at at least 16 weeks, hopefully more." The season usually ends in July, so counting 16 weeks backward from there would mean that regular episodes would not start airing until April 2024.
Fans aren't happy with the news.
Some Jeopardy! fans are upset about the schedule being dominated by tournaments until next spring.
"Is it true regular new Jeopardy shows won't start back until April of 2024? Watching what's being aired now is hard to watch," one fan posted on X (formerly Twitter). Another fan posted, "so I just read that the 'regular' season of Jeopardy!, i.e. NO tournaments or anything, won't air until about April of next year. Am I thrilled? No; I'm not much up for all these tournaments and would love to watch 'actual', 'regular' Jeopardy!"
Viewers also railed against the schedule on Reddit. On one thread, a fan shared that they think there are too many tournaments, which are "diluting the value of a regular game." They added, "And with presumably fewer regular games, there are fewer slots for someone to come along and go on their own streak." Another Reddit user wrote, "Apparently we're not getting any regular Jeopardy! until April 2024. Nearly two-thirds of this season will be tournaments. So yeah, way, way too much." Another person commented, "Oh my god, is it really until April? That's absolutely wild."
A different Reddit user posted, "Some of this was due to the strike but it's unbelievable we won't see a regular game until next spring. I think it's a mistake on the show's part."
There's another major question producers haven't answered about future episodes.
Jeopardy! drew backlash for filming new episodes during the WGA strike, and host Ken Jennings was criticized for continuing to host. The show's other full-time host, Mayim Bialik, decided to step down when the strike began in May, and it remains unclear when she will return.
In August, a source told The Messenger that Bialik "was told it is unlikely she will return for the rest of the year, even if the strike is resolved before then." More recently, on Oct. 4, TVLine speculated that Bialik could return to the show mid-December following Champions Wildcard, which is scheduled for Oct. 2 through Dec. 18.
Bialik commented on her union support in a Vanity Fair interview published Sept. 29. In addition to supporting the WGA, Bialik is also a member of the actors' union, SAG-AFTRA, which remains on strike. While she did not address Jeopardy! specifically, she said, "While it's not for me to personally judge anyone else's decision, for me, I am a union supporter—pretty much all unions and what they fight for. I believe in that system even if it's not perfect. I believe in getting educated about why people strike and what they're striking for."
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