Jeopardy May Introduce New Bonus For Certain Contestants, But Former Champ Buzzy Cohen Has Concerns

Buzzy Cohen Jeopardy!
(Image credit: Jeopardy!)

Jeopardy! is one of the most-watched game shows on TV and has some ardent fans that love to watch contestants test their trivia knowledge and win massive cash prizes every weekday. While the structure of the show has mostly stayed the same over the years, the producers have been considering making a slight change to how contestants traditionally win money on the show. This alteration is an interesting one, and former contestant Buzzy Cohen has some concerns.

The series is interested in adding a cash bonus for contestants who answer all the questions in a specific category correctly, which is known as “running the category.” This is an impressive feat that's only accomplished by competitors with vast specific knowledge in a given field. Buzzy Cohen was recently asked about his thoughts on the proposed change while appearing on the Inside Jeopardy! Podcast, and he had mixed feelings, expressing concerns of its effect on the contestants’ strategy. 

I think people like the idea of a bonus. The sense I get is, is this a bonus that will affect your gameplay or game score total?

When the hosts of the podcast clarified that this prize adjustment would be just a little bonus at the end of the game, and would not factor into gameplay, Buzzy Cohen seemed to come around a bit to the idea. In his words:

I think that the fandom would love that because it doesn’t exactly effect the gameplay, it's just a little kicker.

Jeopardy! fans can be sticklers about the rules, so it’s no surprise they that they're weighing the pros and cons of any supposed rule change and debating about how it will affect the game. Fans recently brought out the pitchforks after host Ken Jennings supposedly showed favoritism towards a contestant by allowing him to correct his answer. Some even pulled out the rule book to see if the move was allowed. Understandably, viewers are incredibly passionate about the network mainstay, which has worked so well for so long. 

Fans may have to get used to changes coming to the gameplay, though. Executive producer Michael Davies recently announced the addition of a “Triple Jeopardy” round that will debut during the Celebrity Jeopardy tournament. The change is currently temporary but could potentially become permanent if successful.

Buzzy Cohen may be one of the best people to speak to the rules possibly affecting gameplay. The former contestant won $164,603 during his nine-game run on the show in 2016. He returned for the Tournament of Champions in 2019 and won, ultimately taking home an additional $250,000. The winning contestant then returned to the famed competition show to host the 2021 ToC. So he clearly knows a thing or two about the game and how even the smallest change can affect how the toughest competitors play. Cohen recently commented on how the tournament change that allows competitors with the previous highest earnings a straight shot to the quarter finals could be detrimental to players. This change is significant, as the 2022 iteration of the event will include some of the biggest Jeopardy! winners of all time. 

We'll just have to wait and see how the changes affect the players on the beloved game show. Season 39 has begun, so make sure to check your local listings to find out when it airs. And of course, keep your eyes on CinemaBlend's 2022 TV schedule for information on other shows headed your way this fall.

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.