‘Jeopardy!’ Highlights Its Semi-Finalists for Professors Tournament

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

The first-ever “Jeopardy!” Professors Tournament returns tonight for the semifinals round. Nine competitors face off for a spot in the finals later this week.

Earlier today, the game show’s website updated with the three semifinal matches this week. Kicking off tonight, Sam Buttrey will play against Katie Reed and J.P. Allen. Buttrey teaches operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. At the University of San Francisco, Allen teaches business and innovation. And Reed teaches musicology at Cal State Fullerton. Apparently, tonight all of the California professors will battle it out on “Jeopardy!”.

On Tuesday, contestants will see Warren Wilson College botany professor Alisa Hove. She’ll play against Marti Canipe, an elementary science education professor at Northern Arizona University. And rounding out the competitors is Hester Blum, an English professor at Penn State University.

And finally, on Wednesday, the “Jeopardy!” Professors Tournament semifinals conclude with Ed Hashima, Gary Hollis, and Deborah Steinberger. Hashima teaches history at American River College, Hollis teaches chemistry at Roanoke College, and Steinberger teaches French literature at the University of Delaware.

These nine professors could not be more excited to participate in the semifinals round. The official “Jeopardy!” Twitter page gave them a shoutout earlier today with a compilation video featuring all the enthusiastic professors.

“Introducing the lineup of semifinalists for our first-ever #ProfessorsTournament!” the game show captioned the post.

Professors Talk About ‘Jeopardy!’ Semifinals Expectations

In the video, each professor shared their experience and answered questions about the semifinals.

“It’s unbelievable. I’m so happy, and I’m really honored and grateful to be part of such a wonderful group of colleagues,” J.P. Allen starts out in the video.

Deborah Steinberger picked up the thread and said, “I just feel like this is a dream. It’s a dream come true.”

When the producers later asked what categories the professors hoped to see on “Jeopardy!,” they provided a fair variety of answers.

“You have to know a little bit about a lot of things,” Marti Canipe said practically. Alisa Hove then chimed in with a hilariously honest answer. “If there were an entire ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ category… I think I might slay,” she said with a smile.

Katie Reed commented, “I’m hoping that my ‘Final Jeopardy!’ is 1970s glam rock. I’m writing a book about David Bowie, so anything you guys can give me, I’ll take it.”

“The before, during, and after category, ‘Isle of Man,’ Ray Charles, that tickets me no end,” Sam Buttrey added. Ed Hashima claimed, “Well, I can never say no to a history question. But that’s a double-edged sword.”

When the “Jeopardy!” producers asked about strategy, Hester Blum later said, “To use a sports metaphor, going to play within myself.”

Gary Hollis kept his cards closer to his chest, though. “I can’t give away all my secrets. But I think the most important thing for all of us is to have some fun.”

J.P. Allen concluded the video by saying, “In the immortal words of Spinal Tap, ‘Have a good time, all the time.'”