Merv Griffin Enterprises has hired public relations firm the Lippin Group to wage a campaign to clear the air regarding recent allegations that “Jeopardy!” somehow slanted program categories to favor female guests.

The company, which produces the long-running game show, issued a three-page statement Tuesday calling the allegations “absurd” and “nothing more than hype to promote a forthcoming book” written by a “disgruntled former employee.”

The reaction comes in response to former “Jeopardy!” writer Harry Eisenberg’s upcoming book, which has received considerable advance coverage in the tabloid press. Without naming the author, the Griffin statement says, “How he can claim that ‘Rhinos & Hippos’ and ‘American History’ are ‘male’ categories and ‘Monarchs’ and ‘Theater’ are ‘female’ categories is mind-boggling.”

Griffin Enterprises maintains the sole purpose of the allegations was to sell books and that the show “stands by its reputation for unblemished integrity, total fairness and full compliance with all applicable laws” during its nine-year run in syndication.

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