History of Jeopardy!
How to play Jeopardy!
Seeing Jeopardy! on TV or in Person
How to become a contestant on Jeopardy!
A Salute to Game Shows
History of Jeopardy!
The original idea for Jeopardy! arose from the quiz show
scandals of the late 1950's. Merv Griffin's idea was that if the producers of the
shows affected by the scandal were giving them the answers to the questions, why not just
give the players the answers, and have them come up with the question? This idea was
strongly reinforced by the title of the original pilot for the show: "What's the
When the show was bought by NBC, it was renamed Jeopardy!, and
Art Fleming was cast as the host, with Don Pardo announcing. In the original NBC
run, which lasted from March 30, 1964 to January 3, 1975, as well as in syndication
September 9, 1974 to September 7, 1975, the format of the show was similar to that of
today. The difference was mainly in two things. First off, the game board,
which we now know as a video wall, was much smaller, and manually done. Also, the
dollar values were different back then, with the Jeopardy! round questions valued at $10,
$20, $30, $40, and $50, and Double Jeopardy! questions at $20, $40, $60, $80, and $100.
Interestingly enough, the show that replaced Jeopardy! on NBC's daytime
schedule was Wheel of Fortune.
Jeopardy! was revived on NBC from October 2, 1978 to March 2,
1979. Art Fleming returned as host, but John Harlan replaced Don Pardo as the show's
announcer. The format was considerably revised for this version of the show.
It played like the classic for the first round, but then for the second round, only the
top two scorers played, and the bottom scorer was eliminated from the competition.
The top scorer in round two moved on to a "Super Jeopardy!" round. Here,
the contestant played for $5,000. They did this by answering five consecutive
questions in a row on the board, either across, up and down, or diagonally.
In 1984, Jeopardy! returned in the format we all know and
love. Alex Trebek became the host, and Johnny Gilbert became the announcer.
This version was picked up for syndication, and is distributed by King World. More
on this version on the rest of this site.
In the summer of 1990, the show Super Jeopardy! ran on ABC.
This was a tournament of former Jeopardy! champions, including one
champion from the original Jeopardy! with Art Fleming. The game was played
like the regular Jeopardy! airing at the time, with Alex Trebek hosting, but with
two exceptions. First off, for the first round of competition, four players played
in a game. Secondly, the game was played for points, not money. Point values
were 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000 in the Jeopardy! round, and then 500, 1,000, 1,500,
2,000, and 2,500 in Double Jeopardy!. The champion of this tournament won $250,000.
A Salute to Game Shows © 1999-2001 Ben F. Schumin,
Chris-Place.com. All rights reserved.