Jeopardy started out as a resurrection of the classic televised game show where wit and intelligence are the player’s only weapon. According to the game’s history page, Jeopardy is the second most popular syndicated series and attracts more than 9 million viewers every day. Jeopardy is a trivia game with a twist. Instead of giving an answer, the contest must form the correct question in response. Each clue gives two hints that help the contestant to figure out the question that should be asked.
The Jeopardy crew started online testing in 2006. The tests are open to all and result in a much larger and more diverse source of contestants for the show. If television is not a preference, millions can play the board, online and computer versions of the game.
No matter how old, young, rich or poor, anyone can develop a fascination with Jeopardy and will do so for several reasons:
Trivia is already a popular competitive game genre. Trivia games are played in pubs, clubs and in homes around the world. Even the popular British television show “The Office” had an episode that featured a pub trivia game.
Jeopardy offers decent money, bright lights, an engaging if very sober host, and the opportunity for the brightest contestants to become champions of intellect, rather than athletic prowess.
The contestants are often characters in their own rights. Some are very eccentric, some are annoying, and most become audience favorites as they fight for the top prize and the right to continue as the reigning champ on the next episode.
The questions and categories of answers presents a random, yet inclusive element. With Jeopardy’s vast and ever growing collection of answers, it is difficult, if not impossible for a contestant to know them all. Yet the answers are not always so difficult that the average viewer is prevented from playing along.
The champions do not earn their titles by luck or accident. For people who tend to enjoy competition that rewards merit or effort, Jeopardy makes it easy to get interested in the process. It is easier to support and follow a promising contestant who does well without the benefit of random chance. According to the Jeopardy history page, Ken Jennings became a national and international sensation as the longest running Jeopardy champion with 74 consecutive games in a row. This was during the 2004-2005 season. Such widespread and public accolades create even more excitement because a non athlete competitor has been so successful.
The prize pool is substantial enough to attract viewers who would either love to win it themselves or to see someone else win. The game is very smartly presented with enough of a time delay that viewers can try to ask the right question. Then the viewer can compare their fantasy earnings as they play along with the studio contestants.
Viewers also know that any contestant could be the one to break the records set by Ken Jennings or Brad Rutter, who took in 3,255,102 in cash. Rutter won big on the basic show in 2002. He then won the Million Dollar Masters Tournament in 2002, and the Ultimate Tournament of Masters special in 2005.
Viewers love to share the experience as they test their skills or choose a favorite competitor to follow. Even when reluctant family members sit down to watch an episode with a hard core Jeopardy fan, they find it hard to resist the thrills, the mental challenges and the quiet but intense excitement of the competition and the show.
Jeopardy has a lot to offer a devoted trivia fan and a casual viewer: decent prizes, engaging and diverse contestants, challenging intellectual questions, and daily surprises. The whole spirit, diversity and conduct of the show makes it so engaging and enjoyable on multiple levels that very few people can resist trying out some form of trivia game after being spurred on by an episode of Jeopardy.