Jeopardy EP Addresses 'Horrible Error' And Tries To Explain How Episode Immediately Spoiled Contestants' Scores
Um, spoiler alert?
Jeopardy! is a long-running and well-respected institution in the world of game shows, and big mistakes aren’t exactly the norm — even if Ken Jennings had to defend himself against a couple of perceived gaffes in recent weeks. However, one “horrible error” was made, executive producer Michael Davies admitted, when the results from Part 1 of the Jeopardy! High School Reunion Tournament finals were shown at the beginning of the episode. The EP discussed what happened, including the protocols put in place to prevent it from happening again and what circumstances might have played into the issue.
The High School Reunion Tournament welcomed back former teenage contestants, with Jackson Jones, Justin Bolsen and Maya Wright advancing to the finals for a shot at $100,000. However, as host Mayim Bialik introduced the first portion of a two-day total-point affair in the opening minutes of the episode, the camera cut to the players, with what turned out to be their final scores displayed on their podiums. Executive producer Michael Davies issued an impassioned apology on the Inside Jeopardy! (opens in new tab) podcast for the mistake, saying:
Michael Davies explained that they had wanted Mayim Bialik to reshoot her introduction, which sometimes happens because of a factual error or performance issue. While neither he nor producer Sarah Foss could remember the reason for the pickup, the EP said he’s sure that was the right call; however protocol was not followed in the steps that followed. He continued:
All in all, with the episode in question being the first day of a two-day final, things definitely could have been worse. Knowing the winnings at the end of Day 1 didn’t spoil the overall winner — in fact, it was Justin Bolsen who claimed the $100,000 prize, after finishing the first half of the final in second place.
However, that gave Michael Davies no sense of relief, and he described what the senior management and post-production teams put themselves through in the aftermath of spoiling their own episode as “self-flagellation." And while he didn’t use it as an excuse, Davies offered one possible reason for how such a mistake could have occurred, explaining:
If Michael Davies is right, and introducing several new spinoffs and tournaments to Jeopardy!, including the High School Reunion Tournament, the upcoming Jeopardy! Masters, the recently wrapped Celebrity Jeopardy!, is going to cause fatigue amongst his crew and therefore a drop in quality, it’s better to learn this lesson now. Hopefully the EP is working on a solution to ensure his staff doesn’t suffer burnout.
With the end of the most recent tournament, Ken Jennings has taken over hosting duties again, and he’ll remain in charge until April 28, before Mayim Bialik finishes out the remaining episodes of Jeopardy! Season 39. Check your local listings to see when to catch the game show in syndication, and see what other premieres are headed your way with our 2023 TV schedule.
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