Jeopardy! is probably America’s longest-running and best-loved game show — it’s been going for half a century, and it’s still going strong! It has spanned many generations of viewers and contestants, testing their knowledge and having them answer in the form of a question. Here are some of the fun facts that are sure to tickle the minds of Jeopardy! fans.
Jeopardy! has won a record of 31 Daytime Emmy Awards plus a Peabody Award, more than any other syndicated game show.
Jeopardy! has a sister game show, the equally popular Wheel of Fortune. Both shows were created by media mogul Merv Griffin. Which means that contestants who have played on Jeopardy! cannot compete on Wheel of Fortune, and vice versa.
The most common category on Jeopardy! is “Before and After,” which has made a total of 114 appearances (so far). It requires players to combine two responses to create the correct answer.
Computer scientist and author Ken Jennings holds the longest consecutive wins on the show with a total of 74 games won in a row in 2004, earning him over $2.5 million. At the time of his winning streak on Jeopardy!, Jennings was working as a software engineer.
But Jennings isn’t even the biggest earner on Jeopardy! He is only second to Brad Rutter, the all-time winningest contestant who has won a total of $4,555,102.
Jeopardy! tapes a week’s worth of episodes in a single day. It means host Alex Trebek has to change suits five times a day to create the illusion of another day passing.
Jeopardy!‘s iconic theme song is titled “Think!” The show’s creator Merv Griffin made this song as a lullaby for his son, called “A Time for Tony.”
Griffin claimed it took him 30 seconds to write that song. And that little ditty has earned him $100 million through royalties every time it is being played, even on reruns and foreign adaptations.
The original version of Jeopardy! was launched in 1964, and was hosted by actor Art Fleming. It went on to enjoy success in the ratings. But by the 1970s, its popularity had begun to wane, and NBC finally axed the show off the air in 1975. Even the later syndicated version was canceled by the network.
In October 1978, NBC tried to revive the show by launching The All-New Jeopardy! but that too fizzled in the ratings and was removed after five months. It looks like the show was finished until it found a new life when the show was re-launched as a new syndicated show in 1984, with new host Alex Trebek. The current syndicated version with Trebek has been so successful since.
The highest winning total prize in a single Jeopardy! episode was $77,000. Contestant Roger Craig scored the prize (and the record) on September 14, 2010.
Jeopardy! experienced a rare three-way tie among the contestants who earned money. This happened on March 16, 2007, where all three contestants finished the game tied with $16,000. All three winners came back on the next episode (and isn’t it a coincidence? All contestants won $16,000 on the 16th day of a month).
It was in 2006 when Jeopardy! started an online application and testing for aspiring candidates who wished to become a contestant on the show. Since then, more than one million people have registered to apply and take the test, which is offered at different times all through the year. If you are interested to register (and you think you can qualify) to be a contestant of the show, visit www.jeopardy.com for more details.