“Jeopardy!” has been a game show for the ages — all ages. Some of us were raised on it, others have spent a good deal of their later years following along and flexing their own trivia muscles alongside contestants.
Season 37 started in September, and as with many perennial ventures that started this fall, things looked a little different than they used to.
“I feel good, and I feel excited because once again Jeopardy! has demonstrated that it’s at the forefront of television programming,” Alex Trebek said in a news release in early September, according to People. “I believe we are the first quiz show to come back on the air in the COVID-19 era.”
“On a personal level, I’m excited because it gets me out of the house. It gives me something to do on a regular basis, and I was missing that.”
The changes were addressed during the opening of the first episode of Season 37.
“Welcome, welcome, welcome, as Jeopardy! begins its 37th season of original quiz programming, with a few changes having been made to adjust for COVID-19,” Trebek said. “We are trying to provide as safe an environment as possible as we produce these new programs for your enjoyment.”
“The productions have protocols in place in accordance with current government guidelines to protect contestants, staff, crew, and talent from the spread of COVID-19,” a spokesperson for “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” shared.
“While some things may have changed behind the scenes and on the set to keep everyone safe, fans can expect to see the same Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! they have come to love when the season starts.”
One way safety has been kept in mind is to keep the guest podiums a reasonable distance apart and a reasonable distance from Trebek, who is still battling cancer.
The most recent episode that aired on Tuesday, Oct. 13, was perhaps the safest by far, as there was only a single contestant by the time the show got around to Final Jeopardy!.
Contestants Natt Supab and Alex Switzky took gambles that did not pay off, and took themselves out of the game with their zero or sub-zero scores. Returning champion Kevin Walsh remained, and he alone entered the Final Jeopardy! round.
“The stage looks like a very lonely place right now,” Trebek remarked upon seeing only Walsh remaining. “I cannot recall the last time we had only one player in Final Jeopardy!”
The category was “Literary Pronouns,” and the question was “Thanks to a horror film, this novel returned to the bestseller lists in 2017, some 30 years after reaching No. 1.”
Walsh answered correctly with “It,” by Stephen King, ending the episode with $18,800 and bringing his four-day total to $81,700.
While this is not the only time a single contestant has ended up in the final round, it is certainly unusual — unusual enough that Trebek was compelled to comment on it!
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