“Jeopardy” may still feature the same format (three quiz rounds with three contestants) since its inception, but that doesn’t mean the long-running game show, now in its 35th year in syndication, hasn’t modernized for the times. In addition to releasing games in both card, video and app format, the show also often causes quite a stir on social media.
“We see all of the time that people play along at home,” says executive producer Harry Friedman. “It used to be that people may talk about the clues they saw on last night’s show with friends or family or co-workers. Now they go on Twitter and we can see the reactions in real-time.”
Friedman fondly recalls the moment last summer when Gal Gadot retweeted a post from the official “Jeopardy” Twitter account that showed highlights from the category about the “Wonder Woman” star. “A whole category?! … I can’t [believe] it, I love this show,” she wrote. “Never thought I’d hear Gal Gadot for $600 and be so pleased!”
Gadot is far from the only one to interact with the show in such a way, though. Host Alex Trebek points out that when the show first started, those who would perform the best as contestants were “lawyers and teachers, but now we’re no longer restricted to that.” Noting that the show now attracts everyone from artists and musicians to bartenders, Trebek says the “fact that our material has broadened out so much, we now reach a greater audience” both in terms of contestants and viewers.
“The sphere of knowledge and of interests of our viewers has grown,” Friedman adds.
In the increasingly crowded landscape that is television, Friedman feels it is imperative to keep the audience engaged by creating clues from topics about which they care.
“We cover 61 clues every show, but if we see a trend and something isn’t working — if our viewers are not into, let’s say, some of the sports — then we will avoid making that an important part of our mix,” he says. “We want to be relevant to our audience and stir that conversation.”