“Jeopardy!” has been around for close to six decades, but the beloved quiz show has never officially celebrated its birthday — until now.
Michael Davies, the executive producer who took over after Sony fired Mike Richards last year, recently announced the first “JeoparDAY” to celebrate the show’s 58th birthday.
“‘Jeopardy!’ was born March 30, 1964, when the first-ever episode aired at 11:30 a.m. on NBC,” Davies wrote in a message on the “Jeopardy!” website. “The birth parents were Merv and Julann Griffin and attending was Art Fleming. The NBC daytime version of the show (which ran until 1975) paved the way for the current syndicated program that debuted in 1984. ‘Jeopardy!’ has never celebrated its birthday before, and we have decided to change that.”
Davies revealed two big ways to celebrate on March 30: Trying out for the show, and watching the unaired “Jeopardy!” pilot from 1964.
How to audition for ‘Jeopardy!’
The online “Jeopardy!” test — the first step in getting on the quiz show — used to only be available once or twice a year. In March 2020, the show made the online test available year-round, the Deseret News reported.
“Jeopardy!” is encouraging aspiring contestants to take the test on Wednesday. The test can typically only be taken once in a one-year period, but the show is letting all fans take the test regardless of when it was last taken.
Wow, it's a special #JeoparDAY! amnesty! You can take the Anytime Test on Wednesday even if you already took it sometime in the past year. Try it, it's fun. https://t.co/MZfwOQv50T— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) March 28, 2022
“Jeopardy!” will donate $5.80 each for the first 10,000 tests to the Alex Trebek Fund at Stand Up to Cancer, Davies wrote in his message. Trebek died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020.
To register for the test, create an account at jeopardy.com.
Ken Jennings offers tips for the ‘Jeopardy!’ online test
In 2019, “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” champion Ken Jennings shared some tips for taking the online test with the Deseret News. Below are some highlights from that interview.
- “If you’ve watched the show, you realize which things you really have to know,” Jennings said. “There’s only 45 presidents; there’s no reason not to spend some time studying the presidents. Know their years, know their vice presidents, know their home states and first ladies. And world capitals, that’s kind of the other big one. Be able to know the capital for every country in the world. That’s the most bang for your buck.”
He also recommended studying Shakespeare, Olympic cities, opera, orchestra conductors, constitutional amendments and university towns.
The 50-question online test goes by fast — you only have 15 seconds to answer each clue. Jennings recommended speed-reading the clues for efficiency.
- “Pick out the most relevant parts of the clue — the proper names, the place names, the dates, the titles,” Jennings said. “Pick those out as quick as you can, see if an idea pops into your head of who or what (the clue is) talking about and then plug that back into the clue and see if everything fits and works.”
You don’t receive an official score after taking the test, but if you correctly answer 35 of the 50 questions, your name gets placed in a pool of potential contestants. Jennings told fans to not be discouraged if they don’t make it through.
- “It’s super selective every year,” he said. “I think by the numbers it’s 10 times harder to get on ‘Jeopardy!’ than to get into Yale. I know a lot of really good players who failed the audition five times before they finally got on the show and did great. So don’t get down on yourself.”
A special ‘Jeopardy!’ watch party
To celebrate 58 years, “Jeopardy!” is also throwing a special watch party Wednesday night. “Jeopardy!” will show the unaired pilot from 1964, Davies said. Viewers can tune in on the show’s official YouTube channel at 6 p.m. MDT.
“Wecolme to a brand new show,” Fleming says at the start of the episode. “This is a very unusual question and answer show. ... Let’s play ‘Jeopardy!’”