22 facts about Jeopardy that you probably don’t know


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As Las Vegas professional sports gambler James Holzhauer etches his name into Jeopardy lore, we thought it would be fun to put together a list of Jeopardy trivia through the ages. Here are 22 things you may not know about the gameshow.

1. March 30, 1964

The original daytime version of Jeopardy, hosted by Art Fleming, debuted more than 55 years ago on March 30th, 1964. The syndicated version, hosted by Alex Trebek, launched September 10, 1984.

2. Alex Trebek’s full name

Alex Trebek’s full name is Giorgi Suka-Alex Trebek (George Alexander Trebek). His mother was French-Canadian, his father Ukrainian. He was born in Sudbury, Ontario on July 22nd, 1940 (he is currently 78).

3. Battle with cancer

As announced in March, Trebek is currently battling Stage IV pancreatic cancer. The most recent reports show Trebek is near remission.


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4. Filming secret

Jeopardy films a week’s worth of episodes in one day. But Trebek changes suits (he says he has “about a hundred”) between each episode to maintain the illusion of time passing.

5. Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings holds the record for the most wins on the show — 74 times in a row…

6. Brad Rutterholds

…but Jennings is not the biggest monetary winner. Brad Rutter holds the record for the most cash won by a single player: $4,688,436.

7. Maximum winnable sum

Although it’s never happened, the maximum winnable sum in a single game is $566,400. A single contestant would have to sweep both boards, find all three Daily Doubles – in the top tier and at the end of each round – make them true Daily Doubles and then wager everything in Final Jeopardy. Check out the Jeopardy Hall of Fame to see how top winners compare.

8. Highest one-day winning total

The highest one-day winning total is $131,127: On April 17, 2019 by James Holzhauer

9. Highest single-game winnings

Holzhauer actually holds the top 8 highest single-game winnings (through April 2019).

10. Previous one-day record

Before Holzhauer’s impressive streak, the highest one-day winning total was $77,000: On September 14, 2010, when Jeopardy contestant Roger Craig set the record, breaking Jeopardy legend Ken Jennings’ previous record of $75,000

11. Daytime Emmy Awards

Jeopardy has won 34 Daytime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award. That’s more than any other syndicated game show.

12. 23 million viewers

Jeopardy averages 23 million viewers per week. That’s more people than live in the entire state of Florida

13. Average viewer age

Jeopardy’s average viewer is 65 years old. That’s down from the average age of 70 back in 2000.

14. Foreign adaptations

Jeopardy has foreign adaptations in 33 countries. You ready? Arab World, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan

15. Wheel of Fortune

People who have competed on Jeopardy are ineligible for Wheel of Fortune, and vice versa. (They’re sister shows.)

16. Forrest Bouncing

Shifting rapidly between Jeopardy categories is known as “Forrest Bouncing.” Named for the 1986 Tournament of Champions winner and category-jumper Chuck Forrest, this unorthodox strategy is legal, yet is frowned upon by Jeopardy staff because it complicates production and confuses viewers.

17. Three-way tie

The first three-way tie for the win happened on March 16, 2007, when all three contestants answered the Final Jeopardy question correctly with matching scores of $16,000 a piece. All were invited back to play the following week. Watch a clip from that episode here.

These days, a tie at the end of Final Jeopardy! sends the game into a tie-breaker clue.

18. Five-game win streak

Only 3 contestants in the history of Jeopardy have ever surpassed the five game mark: The most recent contestant is the currently streaking James Holzhauer, who was still competing at the time of this writing.

19. Think!

The Jeopardy theme song is called “Think!” The notorious earworm was written by show creator Merv Griffin, and was originally a lullaby for his son called “A Time For Tony.”

20. $100 million song

And that little song has earned Griffin $100 million. Even though he sold Merv Griffin Enterprises to Coca Cola in 1986 (for $250M!), Griffin retained the rights to “Think!” and receives a royalty every time it’s played – be it a rerun or foreign adaptation. Not bad for a ditty that he claims “took 30 seconds to write.”

21. Buzzers

During the first syndicated season of Jeopardy, the buzzers would sound when a contestant rang in. In 1985, producers decided to silence the buzzers because the noise was “too distracting” and kept interrupting the questions.

22. Button enabler

There is a Jeopardy staffer whose sole job is “button enabler.” This employee flips the switch that allows contestants to buzz in once Trebek is finished reading the answer. (Note the thin light strips on either side of the gameboard in the image above. These flash as soon as contestants are able to buzz in.)

This article originally appeared on Considerable.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Main Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com