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‘Jeopardy!’ Contestants Have To Pay Their Own Travel And Hotel Expenses Until They’re Proven Champions

Even though Ken Jennings has basically become a millionaire by competing (and hosting) Jeopardy! throughout the years, as it turns out, the show does not make it easy for first-time contestants trying to score some cash.

On this week’s episode of the Inside Jeopardy podcast (via Fox News), producer Sarah Whitcomb Foss revealed that the contestants actually have to pay for their own airfare in order to try to win some money on air. “Our contestants are asked to fly themselves out to Los Angeles for their first appearance,” Foss explained when a fan asked about the process. “If they end up being a returning champion then we do provide travel for them on their return trips out here.”

Foss also said that the turnaround time for some can make it even harder. “We hope to let them know a month in advance, but sometimes it’s a shorter window,” she explained. If you’ve ever tried to book a flight to LAX on short notice, you could understand that this task is not for the faint of heart.

Contestants have actually spoken about the cut corners in the past. Ryan Long, the Uber river from Philadelphia, mentioned that he had to save up money just to be able to get on the show. He also applauded the show for helping him style his two shirts since they don’t provide any type of wardrobe, which could be worrisome for some contestants. “I have to give a shout-out to the wardrobe people because they did wonders with what I brought: two shirts and two sweater vests,” said Long. “That’s all I had. That’s all I could afford. I figured I wasn’t going to be there longer than a day.”

Long did end up being there longer than a day, but this is surprising news. The show has a lot of money, right? Surely they can afford some Spirit Airlines flights.

(Via Yahoo!)