You may not be aware of this, but I am Constitutionally required to write a JEOPARDY! post at least once a year. Maybe it’s because J! is one of the two reasons I decided to create a blog in the first place.
I’ve been watching the show since the original series with Art Fleming with my great-aunt Deana. Since she died in 1966, it’s been a long time. Not all that much has changed. The dollar values have gone up considerably. The cheapest clue used to be $10, then $100 when the show returned in 1984. That amount doubled to $200 in the early 2000s, alas after my appearances.
Another thing that has changed is that they got out of the prize business, and instead award $2000 for second place and $1000 for third. This makes a lot of sense. Arranging for my trip to Barbados in May 1999, with my new bride, was terribly complicated.
Win until you lose
Only one rule change has substantially altered the game itself, and that is ending the five-win and done rule. Virtually anyone winning five games would be back. With players now able to win more games, it turned the formula on its head.
When Ken Jennings was on the Tournament of Champions, after winning 74 regular-season matches, there was a “mere” three-time winner in the group. It’s clear, though, that at least the casual fan of the show likes the big winners. James Holzhauer, the 32-game winner, got people to watch. He, like Jennings and others, even made the national news and became stars.
Personally, this is inconvenient. I might be several shows behind in my J! watching, only to hear that player X has won their 10th game. So when I actually DO watch those matches, I already know the outcome. The downside of time shifting.
JEOPARDY! can also make the news in other ways. For instance, A Contestant Asked, “What Is Palestine?” The Game Show Gave the Wrong Answer. The show accepted Israel as the site of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This after another contestant was penalized for answering “What is Palestine?”
As Dan noted, “Details of that particular game aside, there’s the matter of her giving the right answer and being denied. That can shake your confidence at a very vulnerable moment and affect your subsequent playing. There’s no way to measure that.”
NOTE: “Katie’s score displayed $4,600 at the end of the round after being ruled incorrect and $4,800 at the beginning of the next round, with no explanation. This clue caused a break in taping for judges’ deliberation in which compliance officials were involved.
“A replacement clue, ‘Bascilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe’, which Jack got correct with the response of “What is Mexico?”, was played and recorded, but, due to human error, was not included in the originally aired edit of the show. The show uploaded video of the replacement clue to Facebook on 2020-01-13.”
On another front, I didn’t mind that Greatest Of All Time tournament. The redeeming factor is that it was on primetime on ABC-TV and didn’t cut into the chance for “regular” players to have a chance. Of course, I learned the outcome before I watched it, but so it goes.
Conversely, I hated Team JEOPARDY! last year because it minimized the opportunity for folks like me from having a chance to be on the stage. What is the end of this JEOPARDY! post?