New ‘Jeopardy!’ chief

Who is Col TriStar producer Harry Friedman?

NEW YORK — The Columbia TriStar TV Group has named Harry Friedman producer of “Jeopardy!,” succeeding George Vosburgh.

Friedman will also continue to produce CTTG’s “Wheel of Fortune.” Merv Griffin is executive producer of “Jeopardy” and “Wheel,” but Friedman is the hands-on show runner.

“I was delighted by a recent newspaper headline to the effect that ‘Wheel’ ain’t your grandma’s show anymore,” Friedman said, referring to the constant tinkering the producers do to keep both shows “refreshed and healthy.” King World distributes “Wheel” and “Jeopardy” for CTTG.

“Wheel” has reigned as the No. 1 series in TV syndication for 54 consecutive sweep periods. “Jeopardy!” is right behind, having finished No. 2 overall for 47 consecutive sweeps.

Friedman says he’ll continue the process of changing the categories in “Jeopardy!” to keep up with the times. “We’re always broadening the categories,” he said, “and making sure they’re in line with the popular trends.”

Before becoming producer of “Wheel” two years ago, Friedman wrote and produced more than 3,000 segments of “Hollywood Squares” from 1971 to 1982 and “The New Hollywood Squares” from 1986 to 1989. Ironically, CTTG is trying to stop King World from producing a new edition of “Squares,” claiming that KW’s contract with CTTG to distribute “Wheel” and “Jeopardy!” prevents KW from getting involved with a competing gameshow.

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