Since the 2020 passing of Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! has been in a near-constant state of change. First was the revolving door of guest hosts to find someone who might run the program as Trebek did since 1984, effectively becoming the face of the game show. Then it experimented with Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik hosting at different times with different duties. Now that Jeopardy! has settled on a format, its new introduction has changed to reflect the new normal.
According to Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies, the show has enjoyed increased viewership in the last year, with as many as 27 million people tuning in to question some answers. Initially, Jennings and Bialik switched off running things but are now settling into their long-term stations and as a result the introduction has given viewers a big change even before new episodes begin.
The new introduction of ‘Jeopardy!’ reflects new changes becoming constants
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Over the summer, Jeopardy! named Jennings and Bialik as permanent hosts. Jennings would host the traditional program from September to December. Bialik is in charge of Celebrity Jeopardy! and Jeopardy! National College Championship. During Jennings’ time as host, he’ll be in charge of the Tournament of Champions and the first-ever Second Chance series.
That means Jennings is back as host with this new, long-lasting plan taking effect. But viewers got to see the effects of this new host strategy even before Jennings himself appeared on screen and on stage. When season 39 began Monday, the cameras in the introduction first showed a view of the audience under the large Jeopardy! sign. Then came the announcement, “Here is the host of Jeopardy!, Ken Jennings.” It’s official and it’s reflected in the latest beginning format.
A new era for Jeopardy!
Jeopardy!, originally as a daytime show, began in ’64, and nighttime episodes started airing in ’74. Since then, it can be seen with the sun and moon, and it wouldn’t be until ’84 that the syndicated show that feels so familiar today took shape, helmed by Trebek after he took over for Art Fleming. Because episodes are taped in advance, Trebek’s final episode aired posthumously on January 8, 2021. After that, the only constant was change, even after a permanent answer seemed in the horizon with the short appointment of Mike Richards, who later withdrew from the role after improper conduct allegations came to light.
Fans are split on the latest host decisions and the new introduction to Jeopardy! reinforced these differing opinions. Many online offered congratulations to Jennings, while others admitted, “Congratulations Ken but I am going to miss Mayim.” On a more universally positive note, the montage of big Jeoaprdy! moments has some new champions, many of whom will compete to see just who is the best of the best.