The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik's gameshow Jeopardy has announced sweeping changes due to the acting and writing strike in Hollywood.
Bialik recently walked away from hosting duties for the final week of filming new episodes of the long-running quiz show in solidarity with Jeopardy's writers, who have been striking with the WGA for last two months.
Her co-host Ken Jennings stood in to host some remaining post-season episodes going into season 40, though his own involvement has been somewhat tenuous due to the strike. The show traditionally airs a post-season going into each regular season with new contestants.
According to Inside Jeopardy, showrunner Michael Davies confirmed that the entire format of the rest of "a changed" post-season and season 40 would be impacted by the industrial action in Hollywood.
A spokesperson for Jeopardy had already announced that the show would switch to some recycled questions from previous seasons, but now Davies has clarified that the contestants themselves will be impacted.
In the podcast episode, Davies explained that Jeopardy will now bring back some contestants from past seasons for these post-season episodes, where the questions will be a combination of those written before the strike and recycled questions from past seasons.
"I believe, principally that it would not be fair to have new contestants," Davies said. "Making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek stage, doing it with non-original material or as we'll talk about, a combination of non-original material and material that was written pre-strike.
"And so we decided that really we needed to invite back and give a second chance in general to players who probably thought that their chance to come back and play on the Alex Trebek stage had gone forever. So we're gonna open the season with a second chance tournament for players from Season 37 who lost their initial game, and winners from that will advance to a Season 37 and Season 38 Champions Wild Card."
Season 38 will not actually need new Second Chance episodes as they were already filmed last year.
The post-season will culminate with a Tournament of Champions, where prize money will be increased for the runners-up to $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place.
"This is something that we've been working on ever since I really took the reins of the show. It's something that obviously is discussed widely within our social communities and with the community of our contestants," the producer added. "We understand that post-COVID, travel costs have increased. We understand how complicated sort of funding a trip to Jeopardy is for, you know, many contestants within our community."
No hosting details have been confirmed yet for season 40. The next season of Celebrity Jeopardy will move forward as planned, using questions written before the strike.