Return of Normal "Jeopardy!" Episodes Is Set—And Fans Are Furious
Season 40 has been tournament-heavy, and viewers are sick of it.
This season of Jeopardy! has been quite different from the rest, and fans are taking notice. Special tournaments and returning contestants have dominated Season 40—in fact, since Jeopardy!'s September premiere, not a single brand new contestant has competed. And now that viewers know when the normal episodes of Jeopardy! will finally return, they're not happy about how many more tournament games lie ahead.
Changes to the game show were instituted because of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which took place from May 2 to Sept. 27. With the Jeopardy! writers on strike, the show made the controversial decision to produce new episodes anyway, using clues that were written prior to the strike combined with recycled clues from past seasons. Previous contestants were enlisted to return.
In an August episode of the Inside Jeopardy podcast, executive producer Michael Davies said, "I believe, principally, that it would not be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek Stage, doing it with non-original material or, as we'll talk about, a combination of non-original material and material that was written pre-strike."
So, the season began with a Second Chance competition for Season 37 players and has continued on with various tournaments, even though the WGA strike is over. In October, Davies said on the podcast that normal episodes would be returning toward the end of Season 40. "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," he said. "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." The season usually ends in July, so this means the normal episodes should air from April to July 2024.
Listing off some of the tournaments on the podcast, producer Sarah Whitcomb 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," Foss explained. According to The U.S. Sun, the Tournament of Champions will have 27 contestants this season, up from the typical 15.
Some fans are furious that normal games aren't returning for months because of these tournaments, The U.S. Sun reports.
"ANOTHER [expletive] second chance #Jeopardy?! how many did they film?! The writers strike has been over long enough they should be filming new episodes by now," wrote one viewer on X (formerly Twitter). Another posted, "Are we ever getting regular jeopardy episodes again or is it just tournaments in perpetuity?"
On Dec. 15, the day it was announced that Mayim Bialik would not be returning to host syndicated Jeopardy!, a fan posted, "i know there's hotter jeopardy news today but we are going to have to talk about the bizarre endless tournament structure theyve been doing. there have been dozens of semi final episodes. where does this end where is it going. where am i." Another fan responded, "It was fun at first but now I'm annoyed. I don't think a normal episode has aired this season."
Someone else wrote, "@Jeopardy I don't get this. 73 episodes and we have yet to see a normal show with a champion and 2 new contestants????? Why?????" A user, who identified themselves a formerly a big fan, posted, "My hubby and I are (were) devoted Jeopardy fans, but the constant Winners Tournaments are boring. We can't tell anymore if we are watching reruns or new shows."
Jeopardy! is currently airing a Second Chance Tournament for Season 39 contestants. It began on Dec. 19 and will run through Jan. 15.
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