It seems that “Jeopardy!” executive producer Michael Davies has a fantastic way to give back to former contestants and it all started with the criticism surrounding this year’s National College Championship Tournament. Take a look!
Michael Admits ‘I May Have Just Broken The ‘Jeopardy!-verse’
“Jeopardy!” is no stranger to tournament play after hosting the 2021 Professor’s Tournament late last year. The “Jeopardy!” National College Championship is currently running on ABC primetime, which means that fans can tune in for an hour of “Jeopardy!” after they’ve finished watching regular gameplay.
“This was a wonderful experience for everyone involved and a huge learning experience for me personally so early in my tenure at Jeopardy! We are committed to establishing this as an annual event and your feedback has been really valuable and positive,” Davies wrote in a letter to fans. “I did want to address a couple of specific things that have come up.”
“We are absolutely going to invite the eventual winner of the J!NCC to compete in the ToC,” he said, noting that this bit of information had been left off the website.
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) February 10, 2022
He also addressed the criticism of the tournament structure, as one of the four semi-finalists will not advance to the final round, given that there are only slots for three podiums for three contestants.
Davies called it “an imperfect solution that resulted from necessary changes to the original tournament format and the fixed number of hours we were committed to deliver. However, I am happy to announce that we will invite the fourth place finisher back for our postseason Second Chance Tournament that will precede, and feed, at least one player into the Tournament of Champions. ….”
“I may have just broken the Jeopardy!-verse,” he admitted.
Wait, There’s Going To Be A Second Chance Tournament?
🚨🚨🚨 After almost two decades of people asking me about this… it’s finally happening! https://t.co/mlcIqJYJYV
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) February 9, 2022
Yes! Davies admitted that he started hatching the idea for the tournament on the day when Jessica Stephens beat third-place champion Matt Amodio (38 wins), but lost to Jonathan Fisher by only $401 dollars.
“I thought, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be a cool idea to have a tournament where we bring excellent contestants like Jessica back?’ Like most good ideas, it was quickly apparent that many, many other people – both inside and outside the show – had had exactly the same thought, long before me,” he added.
“But now we’re actually going to do it, and slot it in right before the ToC,” he explained. “More details to follow, including the criteria we will be using to select the rest of the participants. To be clear, though, the eligibility time frame will be the same as for this year’s ToC: We are looking at contestants who appeared on Jeopardy! since the last Tournament of Champions who we believe deserve a second shot.”
Adam “Lost To James Holzhauer With A Score Of $53,999, The Highest Non-Winning Score Ever” Levin has entered the chat:
(the post says the Second Chance Tournament will just be folks since May’s ToC, but going forward…?) https://t.co/e8iAbvLtkw
— Claire McNear (@clairemcnear) February 9, 2022
Unfortunately, this rules out many popular contestants who had appeared on the show over the past few years.
“I know there will be many contestants from previous years who will be howling at this point, and I do not rule out a future opportunity to compete again for some of you,” he continued. “But for now this is part of the postseason for this season. We are all so excited at the prospect, and we look forward to seeing some wonderful contestants again on our stage.”
One More Thing… Michael Davies Wants To Start A ‘Jeopardy!’ Book Club!
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) December 22, 2021
That’s right! The idea is still in the early stages of planning, but given that “Jeopardy!” fosters contestants who often have a love of education and reading, it seems like the perfect fit.
“A few weeks ago, between shows, I approached the workstation of Michael Harris, our senior researcher,” Davies explained. “He has a very specific and important job during gameplay: Enabling the notorious signaling devices.”
“He is absolutely brilliant at his high-pressure job,” he continued. “Quite justifiably, he was taking a mental break between shows and, in true Jeopardy! fashion, he was reading a book. But as I approached, he noticed me, and he closed the book and pushed it away, as if he were getting caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he added quickly. “I was mortified. I LOVED that he was reading a book and immediately enthusiastically asked him what he was reading (“Bullet Train” by Kotaro Isaka) and I told him about what I was reading (“Hero of Two Worlds” by Mike Duncan). And as I walked away from that conversation, I immediately had an idea.”
“We need to start a Jeopardy! Book Club,” he wrote.
“That’s all I have for now,” he admitted. “We don’t have all the details figured out yet, but we’re the perfect program to do it. I think we can do something magnificent, and we hope to work in concert with libraries and independent booksellers all across America. One thing I’ve learned pretty quickly is that if I write something on Jeopardy.com, it kind of has to happen.”
He encouraged feedback from fans on this new initiative. Many “Jeopardy!” fans can’t wait for it to get up and running!