Change has been difficult for many Jeopardy! fans to endure in recent years, starting with the replacement of late host Alex Trebek. That decision turned to outright scandal and has since been resolved, but even some much smaller changes have been met with online outcry and fan discussion.
Which is perhaps why those in charge of Jeopardy! recently announced they’ve changed course on a potential change that would have actually given players more money if they achieved a particular feat during the game’s run of play. Sweeping a category has long been an applause moment on the show, with the host specifically calling out the achievement of a single player getting all five questions in one category right.
And as the show tweaks things in Season 39, it has previously floated the idea of awarding a bonus to contestants who could manage the feat like Ryan did above. But after some backlash to that decision, the show has decided against it. On the October 17 edition of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, host and Jeopardy! producer Sarah Whitcomb Foss noted that the show has decided to put that idea on ice.
“We’re not doing anything at this point,” Foss said. “There’s no [cash] bonus; nobody get upset.”
As many pointed out, while the cash bonus may be nice for players, it may actually significantly alter play strategies as well. If players are incentivized to stay in a single category and go for the cash bonus, it may actually not be in their best interests as far as actually winning the game. A player behind in the game, for example, may want to focus on higher-valued answers on the board to make up ground. Or, as has become more popular in recent years, actually hunt out Daily Doubles in spots they are more frequently appearing to wager big and take control of the game.
Interestingly, the show will apparently call out fewer ran categories moving forward now as well. Previously, if a player got all five right but not in sequential order, they would still get a mention and applause.
“We actually decided we’re not going to call out the running of a category. Not even top to bottom,” Foss explained, making clear that to get applause you have to do it with five correct answers on five straight questions. “Five for five, that’s when we’re gonna give applause and acknowledge running the category.”
In a way, this is a simplification of sorts, as it’s one more thing for the show’s host to remember, so Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings probably appreciate the move here. But it’s certainly interesting to see the long-running game show float changes and watching fans react. In this case, Jeopardy! decided it was best to keep things as they are.
[via TV Insider]