It’s been 59 years since “Jeopardy!” made its debut. Although the beloved quiz show has been around for nearly six decades, “Jeopardy!” only somewhat recently began officially celebrating its birthday.

Last year, Michael Davies — who took over as the show’s executive producer after Sony fired Mike Richards in 2021 — announced the first “JeoparDAY” to celebrate the show’s 58th birthday.

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“‘Jeopardy!’ was born March 30, 1964, when the first-ever episode aired at 11:30 a.m. on NBC,” Davies wrote in a message last year, per the Deseret News. “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.”

Now, the new annual tradition continues.

On March 30, “Jeopardy!” is encouraging fans to celebrate the show’s 59th birthday in a few ways — including trying out for the show and watching late host Alex Trebek’s first “Jeopardy!” episode on YouTube. The show has also alluded to a “special announcement” on an upcoming episode of the podcast “Inside Jeopardy!”


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 March 30. 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, according to the “Jeopardy!” website.

“Jeopardy!” will donate $5.90 to the Alex Trebek Fund at Stand Up to Cancer for the first 10,000 tests. Trebek died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020.

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‘Jeopardy!’ host Ken Jennings shares tips for the ‘Jeopardy!’ online test

“Jeopardy!” host Ken Jennings previously 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 in 2019. “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. 

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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.”

Alex Trebek’s first ‘Jeopardy!’ episode

“Jeopardy!” will premiere Trebek’s first episode — which aired Sept. 10, 1984 — on YouTube on March 30 at 7 p.m. MDT.

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The first game with Trebek as host had categories including lakes and rivers, inventions, animals, foreign cuisine and actors, the Deseret News previously reported. The first clue to get selected was: “These rodents first got to America by stowing away on ships.”

(The answer: rats).

After a few weeks of low viewership, the show’s distribution company was concerned that “Jeopardy!” was too tough and people were having a hard time connecting with the quiz show, Trebek shared in his memoir, per the Deseret News. The head of that company, Michael King, asked Trebek to change up the material — but the host had already taped two months worth of shows. 

The next time Trebek saw King, the host said: “Did you notice that the material got a lot easier?” 

“Yeah!” King said. “Thank you so much for doing that. It’s playing a lot better now.” 

But Trebek hadn’t changed a thing. 

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In his memoir, “The Answer Is ... Reflections on my Life,” Trebek wrote about the continual success and popularity of “Jeopardy!”, attributing it, in part, to longevity and familiarity — the show really hasn’t changed all that much over the years.

“The show has become part of the fabric of American life,” Trebek wrote, per the Deseret News. “At some point — and it occurred slowly over the years — we made the transition from just being an enjoyable quiz show to being part of your daily life.”