Crackle, the digital network from Sony Pictures Television, wants viewers and advertisers to think of it as a TV network that just happens to be delivered over the Internet. And typically, Crackle releases episodes of its original series in a TV-like weekly basis.
But in a nod to the powerful lure of binge-viewing, Crackle is making a key change to “Sports Jeopardy” season 2, the quiz show hosted by sportscaster Dan Patrick based on SPT’s long-running “Jeopardy” franchise.
In the second run, which debuts Sept. 23 on Crackle, will now allow the winner of each episode’s game to return the following week as a defending champion. That’s designed to provide more continuity between segments — and encourage viewers to catch up on multiple episodes in one sitting.
‘The number of people who tell me they’ve watched five episodes on a plane, it’s amazing,” Patrick said. “You get a lot of binge-watchers.” New episodes will still go up on a weekly basis, each Wednesday, with all prior installments remaining available to watch on-demand on the free, ad-supported service.
The format change also is aimed at upping the competitive intensity on the show, Patrick said: “On ‘Jeopardy,’ the momentum builds up when people have long runs on the show… It becomes appointment viewing.”
As on the syndicated version of “Jeopardy,” returning champions on “Sports Jeopardy” can continue to amass winnings as long as they remain victorious.
“Sports Jeopardy” contestants will continue to play for points; the player with the most points at the end of each game wins $5,000, then returns the next week for a shot at another $5,000. The 52-episode season 2 will conclude with a championship round pitting the top contestants vying for the $50,000 grand prize.
“Sports Jeopardy” is exec produced by Harry Friedman, the brains behind “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune,” and Sony Pictures Television.
Patrick conceded that for the initial season of “Sports Jeopardy,” it took him about 20 episodes to become at ease bantering with contestants. He met with “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek, who graciously provided tips and gave Patrick a grease pencil, which he uses to cross off questions as they’re answered.
“I watch ‘Jeopardy’ completely differently because I know how hard it is,” Patrick said. “You see me flailing. (Trebek) said, ‘Having a sense of humor helps people relax.'”
According to Crackle, tens of thousands of people registered online for auditions this summer in several U.S. cities for a shot at appearing on “Sports Jeopardy.” That comprised an initial test to test applicants’ general sports knowledge, followed by a second phase with mock game play and a short interview.