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"Jeopardy!" game show to reuse questions, contestants during WGA strike

How Hollywood strikes could affect box office
How the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes could immediately affect box office revenue 05:27

The Hollywood writer's strike is forcing "Jeopardy!" now in its 40th season, to make adjustments to its show after producers acknowledged the original plan was "compromised" by the historic labor movement. 

Lacking sufficient fresh material for a new season, "Jeopardy!" will recycle both old material and contestants, executive producer Michael Davies revealed on the most recent episode of the "Inside Jeopardy!" podcast. 

He called it the "most optimal solution," given the circumstances and the fact that the show's original plan was scuttled.

He explained the impetus for not hosting first-time trivia competitors in the midst of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike. 

"I also 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 a combination of non-original material and material that was written pre-strike," he said.

Did Alex Trebek really know all the answers? 02:37

A second chance

The show's producers have found a workaround it hopes will be a hit with both contestants and viewers. It will proceed with a new season of the show featuring contestants from season 37 who lost their first games. Normally, first-round losers would not be given a second chance to appear on stage. 

"We decided that really we needed to invite back and give a second chance in general to players who probably thought that their chance to come back and play on the Alex Trebek stage had gone forever," Davies continued.

The returning contestants will compete on a combination of material written before the strikes as well as material "that is being redeployed from multiple, multiple seasons of the show," Davies said.

He announced an additional major change unrelated to the WGA strike. The prize purses for second and third place finishers will increase by $1,000 each. 

"So third-place prize will move up to $2,000, the second place prize will move up to $3,000," Davies said. The move had been a work in progress he added, given that contestants have to pay their own way to appear on the show.

"We understand that post-COVID, travel costs have increased. We understand how complicated funding a trip to 'Jeopardy! is for many contestants within our community, and we think this is way about time that we did this," Davies said. 

"Celebrity Jeopardy!" will return with both brand new material and contestants in September, Davies added, given that trivia questions were completed before writers went on strike. It features all new original material, and the show is currently booking guests.

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