‘Jeopardy!’ Boss Admits He Would ‘Bend the Rules’ for These Two Contestants

by Caitlin Berard

Since taking over as permanent Executive Producer of the iconic game show Jeopardy!, Michael Davies has introduced a number of major changes, one of which being the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, in which the EP, along with producer Sarah Foss, gives fans a peek behind the scenes of the popular series.

As of now, the Inside Jeopardy! podcast is only on its second episode. But the producers wasted no time diving into the content for which they knew fans would be most excited. In the most recent episode, Michael Davies admitted that he would be open to “bending the rules” if it meant two of the show’s most beloved contestants could return.

In the episode, the Jeopardy! producer answered a fan question regarding James Holzhauer, the show’s second-winningest champion. “We love James Holzhauer and we are very much in contact,” Davies said. “He’d definitely be invited back [for a special tournament] from us and I believe he’d accept.”

While on the topic of fan-favorite champions, Davies came up with another ingenious idea. Why not have Ken Jennings return to the game as well? Not as a host but as a contestant.

“But also Ken,” the producer considered. “Ken does consistently say he is retired from playing. But I wouldn’t close the door completely from Ken playing in the future, though he seems to have closed some doors himself.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Producer Would Break the Rules for Ken Jennings

Before Michael Davies could get too carried away with his Ken Jennings fantasies, Sarah Foss brought him back to reality. “Well, we did make some rules in the past,” she said. “Not that rules can’t be broken. But that once a contestant had hosted the program, they could no longer compete. Because they’ve seen behind the curtain if you will.”

Davies then revealed that his rule-breaking idea earned a “disapproving look” from his fellow producer, but he continued the train of thought regardless. “Ken is the greatest of all time,” he said. “It’s kind of like Arnold Palmer, who tees off at the Masters.”

“If Ken came to me desperately and said, ‘This is it. I still want to play Jeopardy!‘ I can’t say I’d close the door on Ken playing any form of Jeopardy! at any point in the future.”

And if Ken Jennings can make a return to a contestant’s podium, Buzzy Cohen should be able to as well, even though he hosted the 2021 Tournament of Champions. “I feel like Buzzy should be able to play Jeopardy! again at some point,” Davies said.

“You heard it here first,” Sarah Foss joked. “Mike Davies, executive producer, can change the rules at will.”

Michael Davies also discussed the possibility of a “Masters” league, in which former champions could return to compete, which could provide the perfect window for the return of Ken, Buzzy, or both.