Jeopardy! is currently preparing to enter its 39th season. Since the current iteration of Jeopardy! hit the small screen in 1984, the show has seen thousands of thrilling games and even more truly incredible contestants.
Now, every Jeopardy! fan has their favorites among those contestants, and the show, of course, keeps records of every game. The performances of the series’ most dominant competitors are well documented and those who’ve earned the most in winnings and enjoyed the longest winning streaks are celebrated.
The only thing the series was missing? An actual Hall of Fame to showcase its strongest, most beloved contestants. As revealed on this week’s Inside Jeopardy! podcast, however, that missing piece is about to be filled in.
The series is not only establishing a Hall of Fame but is already prepared to induct its first members! Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings shared the exciting news on Twitter. “Who will be the inaugural inductees into the Jeopardy! Hall of Fame?” Jennings wrote. “Find out on this week’s Inside Jeopardy! podcast.”
Who will be the inaugural inductees into the Jeopardy! Hall of Fame? Find out on this week’s Inside Jeopardy! podcast. https://t.co/ALhcKu2ID0— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) August 9, 2022
“Ahead of the Tournament of Champions, we will be hosting a special ceremony here on the SONY lot,” Executive Producer Mike Davies explained on the podcast. “For the first time in Jeopardy!‘s 58-year history, we will announce the inaugural Hall of Fame class, the inductees for 2022.”
“In future years, we will induct great champions of the show,” Davies’ co-host Sarah Foss added. “This year, we wanted to focus on the pioneers of the program, those people who’ve contributed to the legacy of the show.”
Inaugural ‘Jeopardy!’ Hall of Fame Inductees Revealed
During the podcast, EP Mike Davies revealed the first five inductees of the Jeopardy! Hall of Fame. And though each spot is well-deserved, the announcement received mixed reactions.
The first inductee is Merv Griffin, the creator and former executive producer of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. Griffin is also the writer of Jeopardy!‘s iconic “Think” theme song. His ex-wife, Julann Wright, who had the idea for the game show in the ’60s, will be inducted as well.
The third spot went to Alex Trebek, the show’s celebrated host from 1984 until his tragic death in 2020. Executive Producer Harry Friedman came in fourth, the man who created the concept of Super Champions by removing the 5-game cap.
And last but not least is Johnny Gilbert, the now 94-year-old TV personality who served as the announcer and audience host for Jeopardy! from Alex Trebek’s very first day.
Each of these inductees makes perfect sense. They’re the cornerstones of the current and most beloved version of the game show. Jeopardy! fans, however, were shocked by the exclusion of what seemed to be an obvious pick: Art Fleming.
Art Fleming was the show’s original host, guiding the series from its inception in 1964 until 1979, and fans were not pleased to see that he wasn’t included in the historic class. “Where’s Art Fleming?” one fan wrote in a Reddit thread discussing the inductees. “Uh. Art Fleming!! Hello??” another said.
According to Mike Davies, Art Fleming will go into the Hall of Fame, just not this year. “One name suggested to me was Art Fleming,” Davies said. “I would love to get in communication with those close to him to honor him in the future.”