bosses reveal exact date regular games will return ‘no matter what’ after fans boycott endless tournaments

Ken Jennings will re-introduce fans to reigning 3-day champ Lucas Patridge

JEOPARDY! viewers can rejoice as the game show’s classic format with fresh faces is returning at long last starting next week.

Fan fury has reached a fever pitch as an endless parade of past-player tournaments has aired instead of regular games since September.

Ken Jennings will host regular episodes with new contestants starting between April 9 and April 11
5

Ken Jennings will host regular episodes with new contestants starting between April 9 and April 11Credit: Getty

Lucas Partridge has been waiting in the wings since Season 39 ended last summer
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Lucas Partridge has been waiting in the wings since Season 39 ended last summerCredit: ABC
The welcome news was dropped on the latest episode of the podcast Inside Jeopardy!

Producer Sarah Whitcomb Foss, joined by former champion Buzzy Cohen, revealed that regular play will resume between Tuesday, April 9, and Thursday, April 11.

The game show will return to its bread and butter format once the finals in now-airing Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament concludes.

Then, new players will take the stage, and continue to do so for the remainder of Season 40.

‘NEXT WEEK NO MATTER WHAT’

“The finals will kick off on Friday; it is the first person to win two games who will be our champion,” Foss shared, referring to the JIT.

“This could run as little as two games and as many as four.”

“Which means next week, no matter what, we will be back to regular Jeopardy!

“We’re gonna welcome back – you may not remember him, it was so long ago – our 3-game champion, Lucas Partridge,” she continued.

“He now has a record he never wanted to hold, that is; our longest-reigning Jeopardy! champion.”

In other words, Lucas will have spent the longest amount of time in history as the current winner on the game show.

“I’m sure he wanted to hold that record but not for the reasons that he has,” Buzzy said with a laugh.

“I know everyone is looking forward to that,” Foss concluded.

Lucas returns having last competed on the finale of Season 39 which aired in July 2023.

He’ll face two unannounced new players, and from there, regular play will continue until July 2024.

Lucas will come in as the longest reigning champ in history, his 10-month stint beats Zach Newkirk, who was the current winner when Covid-19 hit in 2020.

The Writers Guild of America strike significantly impacted many beloved TV shows, Jeopardy! included.

Without its writers, producers chose to recycle clues and bring back past contestants to keep the game show afloat for Season 40 in September.

Bosses shared in the fall that not inviting new players avoided forcing new players to decide to cross a picket line or potentially give up on a dream of being on Jeopardy!.

“I also believe, principally, that it would not be fair to have new contestants making their first appearance with non-original material,” executive producer Michael Davies shared.

Instead, Jeopardy! soldiered on by presenting Second Chance and Wildcard contests — which continued even after the strike ended.

When the WGA strike ended, new questions finally returned, but new contestants were nowhere to be found.

More tournament play came, including Season 39 Second Chance and Season 39 Wildcard, which populated the 2024 Tournament of Champions and were going to kick off the season but instead were pushed back.

Then came the new mini-tournament JIT, which features 27 game show greats to decide a slot in Jeopardy! Masters in primetime on ABC in May.

The now-airing JIT would have run in February had there been no strike – and there would have been 2.5 months of regular play before it.

All’s to say, the embrace of tournament play was partly because of the strike, but also because bosses are leaning into a more tournament-heavy era of the show.

This is also a massive departure from the past when the Tournament of Champions was the show’s only annual tournament.

Even James Holzhauer joked on X that the show should try “first chance week,” and Ken Jennings shared in a statement, “we are sympathetic to tournament overload.”

Social media has been divided by the huge shakeup from past decades, to say the least.

As one Facebook user recently wrote, “Well, my husband and I have done something we never thought we would do.”

Referring to tournaments the user added, “It just seems to have lost its appeal & seems to just drag on endlessly. As of today we have quit watching it.”

Another fan replied, “We are so with you. I don’t like to be negative , but this seems as if they’ve lost their way. Hoping to be back to regular program soon.”

“I live and breathe #Jeopardy for life but can’t keep up with all of the ongoing tourneys – what happened to the regular season??” a third fan recently wrote on X.

“Are we ever getting new contestants on #Jeopardy?” cried another.

“Jeopardy has not aired a regular, returning champion-type game in, like, six months or more. Almost this whole season has been various tournaments of past champions. It’s gotten really tedious,” wrote a fifth.

Once the Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament ends, new players will return and regular play will air until the summer
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Once the Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament ends, new players will return and regular play will air until the summerCredit: Jeopardy!

Lucas Partridge will go for win four with two new players, 'I know everyone is looking forward to that,' producers admitted
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Lucas Partridge will go for win four with two new players, ‘I know everyone is looking forward to that,’ producers admittedCredit: ABC

Jeopardy!'s 40th Season has seen the departure of Mayim Bialik and a divisive embrace of tournament play which was only partly due to the WGA strikes
5

Jeopardy!’s 40th Season has seen the departure of Mayim Bialik and a divisive embrace of tournament play which was only partly due to the WGA strikes

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