Fans of Jeopardy! are questioning whether or not Ken Jennings and the show’s previous winners will return for season 40 and the Tournament of Champions. Speculation about the fate of the series rose after former champions shared their support for those on the picket lines for the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike.
Is ‘Jeopardy!’ Returning for Season 40?
Season 39 of Jeopardy! saw several changes to its filming format at the start of the WGA strike on May 2. Cohost Mayim Bialik walked off the set of the game show on May 11 during the final week of taping for the season. Ken stepped in to finish filming the rest of the episodes in the season in Mayim’s absence.
Prior to the strike, it was announced that season 40 was set to premiere on September 11. Many loyal fans are still holding out hope that Ken will be kicking off hosting duties during the premiere episode. Others are confused as to how the series will proceed in the absence of Mayim and the writers on set.
On Camera Audiences, the company responsible for casting audience members for the upcoming season of Jeopardy!, revealed that tickets to future tapings are “coming soon.” Initially, Jeopardy! was scheduled to begin filming season 40 in mid-August.
On July 21, Jeopardy! announced on its official Twitter account that reruns of previous seasons will be airing all summer long on NBC. Despite all of the confusion, the network has not yet announced any official plans to postpone the scheduled fall premiere date.
Is the ‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions Returning to TV?
In a Reddit post on July 21, 13-time Jeopardy! champion Ray Lalonde announced that he will not be participating in any Tournament of Champions season that is filmed during the strike.
“There are now credible reports that the producers are making contingency plans to start filming the next season of the show with old and/or recycled material if the WGA strike remains unresolved,” he wrote on Reddit. “I am a lifelong devoted fan of Jeopardy! I am and will always be grateful for the experience I had on the show and the opportunity to participate in the TOC is beyond a dream come true for me.”
The post continued, “That being said, I believe that the show’s writers are a vital part of the show, and they are justified in taking their job action to secure a fair contract for themselves and their fellow WGA members. As a supporter of the trade union movement, a union member’s son and a proud union member myself, I have informed the show’s producers that if the strike remains unresolved, I will not cross a picket line to play in the Tournament of Champions.”
Other former Jeopardy! champions weighed in on the matter and are standing in solidarity with the writers.
“Ray, thank you for taking this stand,” winner Ben Chan commented on Reddit. “If you are out, I am out.”
Former contestant Hannah Wilson wrote, “I’ll stand with you, Ray!”