JEOPARDY! fans have ruled Thursday’s Final Jeopardy question as “poorly worded” and “confusing.”
Contestant David Maybury also wrote off the clue on Reddit, and other major champions agreed it put a damper on Season 40’s first week.
Jeopardy!Ken Jennings is hosting Jeopardy!’s new season solo, starting with a 3-week Second Chance Tournament[/caption]
Jeopardy!Fans and even former champions posted that this Final Jeopardy! clue – the first of Week 1’s finals – left much to be desired[/caption]
Jeopardy!David Maybury was leading until he missed it and joined in online: ‘I am also not a fan!’[/caption]
After a summer of reruns and retooling, Jeopardy! is back and buzzing as of Monday.
That’s far from the only big change to the highly anticipated Season 40.
Thursday and Friday’s matches consist of the winners of the first three games.
They each advanced by winning earlier this week and are vying for $35K and a spot in the new Champions Wildcard event later this fall.
Their scores of the first two games will be combined, with the overall winner declared tomorrow.
So all three – who lost their initial bouts in 2020 or 2021- had their game faces on.
However, by the end of the first round, David took charge with $9,400, Jill $2,800, and Hari $2,200.
Ken even remarked to David: “You’re off to a great start.”
Double Jeopardy saw David get the most correct responses in by far, and he was leading the entire time, but both Jill and Hari got the Daily Doubles, staying in the running.
By Final Jeopardy, David still led with $17,000, Jill had $13,600, and Hari had $9,600
Final Jeopardy under: “World Capitols” read: “In English, name of 1 of the 2 4-letter capitals with the same first & last letter, one in the N. & one in the S. Hemisphere.”
The hard-to-parse clue was looking for either “Oslo” (Norway) or “Apia” (Samoa).
Hari wrote “Doha?” which was incorrect, dropping $8,000 and leaving him with $1,600.
Jill wrote “Oslo” which was correct and she jumped $6,000 to have $19,600.
David revealed he started writing Libson but only got to “Lisl” seeming totally confused by the question.
“Did he think of Oslo?” Ken asked, to which David somberly replied: “No.”
He threw up his hands and dropped $10,272 to have $6,728, which even Ken admitted was a “big” loss.
Legendary champion Ken assured that “these scores will be added to the scores of tomorrow’s games to determine our winner.”
However, it’s now unlikely David will advance despite having the strongest performance, and people were not sold on the question after it aired.
FANS & CONTESTANTS AGREE IT WAS ‘BAD’
Reddit users voiced in an internet thread that the clue wasn’t difficult but was phrased in a way that tasked the contestants with running through capitals up and down, one by one.
One fan wrote: “Final Jeopardy confused me a bit.”
Another wrote: “I think it was the wording of the clue that threw them off.”
A third agreed: “It’s a terrible question because the difficulty isn’t in knowing the information, but in parsing the question and rapidly scanning a list of ~190 capitals in under 30 seconds.”
Another wrote: “I’m not a big fan of these letter-criteria geography Final Jeopardy’s. There’s nothing particularly creative about them. You can know all the capitals cold, but mentally sifting through them by length and letter combinations in 30 seconds is a whole other beast.”
David replied: “I am also not a fan! It just cuts against how my brain works. I was having to scan my mental world map and pull capitals. But that’s trivia…sometimes questions just hit you wrong.”
He continued: “Obviously, I know Oslo, and less obviously, I knew Apia. The challenge was that information in my head is organized as word-association pairs and places on a physical map.
“I was scanning through the map, and was still in Europe after going through North and South America and Africa. With 45 seconds, I probably get it. But that’s how game shows go sometimes.”
Chan added maybe one instead of two possible answers would have been doable: “Like, if the clue were instead, ‘A 4-letter northern hemisphere world capital that begins and ends with the same letter’ I’m guessing more than one contestant gets to OSLO.”
Another hoped: “I’m betting David will make up enough ground that Friday’s Final Jeopardy will not be a runaway.”
Jill initially lost in a match against 7-time champion Brian Chang and eventual 6-time champion Zach Newkirk, Hari in a painful tiebreaker, and David lost despite having more correct responses in 2021 under the disgraced Mike Richards.
ALL ABOUT THE SECOND CHANCE TOURNAMENT
Each week, there will be three matches of contestants who initially lost in 2020 and 2021 instead of new players.
The three winners then face off in a Thursday/Friday final like this one.
All three final winners advance to the next tournament Champions Wildcard.
That will air directly afterward and pit the winner from this series against brief Season 37 and 38 champions.
The subsequent eight-week tournament’s price is a ticket to the currently postponed Tournament of Champions.
This takes fans into December, but given the strikes, what will air after that is unannounced.
Jeopardy!Fans were bothered because David was the frontrunner with an incredibly impressive game until then[/caption]
Jeopardy!The ‘confusing’ question cost him $10,000 and perhaps a (second) chance at Jeopardy! success[/caption]
Jeopardy!Each week, one player will advance to a subsequent 8-week tournament which will air until December and the winner of that gets a ToC ticket[/caption]
EVERYTHING TO KNOW ABOUT SEASON 40
Jeopardy!’s monumental Season 40 will run until July 26, 2024.
Because of the ongoing WGA and SAG strikes with actors and writers unable to settle fair pay negotiations, co-host Mayim is officially off the board.
It was announced on Monday that she is going to remain uninvolved until the strikes end and only Ken will host.
She bowed out in solidarity with the strikers, a big shakeup since she and Ken were tapped to split hosting after Alex Trebek‘s death in 2020.
“She wasn’t fired,” the insider shared.
“She’s choosing to stand with her union, and because of that, she was told it is unlikely she will return for the rest of the year, even if the strike is resolved before then.”
Mayim is a member of the striking actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA.
If the strikes don’t end by 2024 – and since episodes tape two months in advance – Mayim will not return until at least the new year if not next season (or next fall).
Ken being the only host isn’t the only huge change this season.
Aside from not having new contestants and no Mayim, the other major change is the clues.
The game show is re-using questions from past seasons while without its writers, but most of the questions did not appear to have previously aired.
Showrunner Michael Davies explained on the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast that it “wouldn’t be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance” on the show with material that isn’t original or that was written pre-strike.
“The material that we’re gonna be using is a combination of material that our WGA writers wrote before the strike, which is still in the database and material that is being redeployed from multiple, multiple seasons of the show.”
The 2023 Tournament of Champions will not happen not until the strikes are over.
Several Season 39 champs, including Ray LaLonde, Cris, Hannah Wilson, and Ben Chan, said they would not participate in the TOC until the strikes are concluded.
Davies also announced a bump in consolation prizes for the upcoming season (when regular episodes resume) and said that he admires and misses the show’s beloved writers.
“If you don’t have time to listen, here’s the executive summary of today’s announcement,” James, 39, wrote, sharing a link to the podcast episode.
“1:00-2:00: Jeopardy’s writers are invaluable and we couldn’t produce the show without them,” he continued.
“2:00-15:00: Here is how we will produce the upcoming season without them.”
Meanwhile, Ken has faced backlash from some fans and former players for his decision to cross the picket line.
Ken has kept relatively quiet on the subject besides resharing a statement from the show’s executive producer referencing how the late Alex continued hosting during the 2007 to 2008 writers’ strike.
He also hasn’t mentioned that the questions aren’t new this week which has irked some fans since it seems worth noting.
Mayim is also being replaced by Ken on Celebrity Jeopardy! which airs on ABC for the entire next season.
Her exit marks Ken’s first time hosting all programming for Jeopardy!
ABCKen is replacing Mayim Bialik on Celebrity Jeopardy! and entire reworked Season 40 – at least until the strikes end- and perhaps until next fall[/caption]
GettyAside from no Mayim, Season 40 will consist of tournaments of past players and recycled questions until at least December[/caption]