‘Jeopardy!’ Behind the Scenes: Things on the Game Show’s Set That Viewers Don’t See

by Kayla Zadel

“Jeopardy!” has been stumping viewers, and sometimes contestants, with questions asked on the quiz show.

But instead of wondering what the answer is, do you ever get curious about what the iconic stage looks like from the first-person point of view? Or what about the things that go on behind the scenes?

Keep reading to find out a few secrets about the iconic game show via the “Jeopardy!” website.

‘Jeopardy!’ Hidden Secrets

First up, the contestants might get to chose what clue they want next, but it’s the game’s host who really steers the ship. In order to help the game show host, there are small, but very helpful lights on the front of the podiums where the contestants stand. This helps the person know who answered the last clue correctly, and it’s their turn to chose the next question.

Speaking of contestants and lights, there are actually blinking lights on the sides of the game show board. After each clue is read, signal lights begin blinking immediately. This lets the contestants know that they can buzz in and respond.

If “Jeopardy!” players push their controllers too quickly before the lights flash, then they get locked out for a quarter of a second, typically enough time to lose the clue to another player.

Continuing on the contestants’ subject, the players can read each clue on the main game board. However, when a clue calls for a visual representation, a “Jeopardy!” contestants use a special monitor to help decipher an answer. And when it comes to quickly making those major wagers, there is a scoreboard in their direct line of sight. It hangs just to the left of the gameboard.

This next trick is one that’s been used in television for years. Not all contestants are equal in height. So a riser, or box, is given to those that need it in order to make all the players appear even in height. Why you might ask. It helps reduce the need for quick camera adjustments. It appears aesthetically more appealing to viewers at home and helps them from getting motion sickness for quick moving camera angles.

Behind the Scenes

Now, switching to a few facts that happen backstage or off-camera that viewers don’t necessarily see at home.

When the contestants select a clue on the game board, it must be manually activated by a person backstage. Meaning that a human must change the blue screen from displaying a monetary number, to the clue on the screen.

And now to address the brains behind the game. “Jeopardy!” says, “the Judges’ Table is like the central brain” of the game.

“For every single clue, writers, researchers, and producers listen carefully for every buzzer activation, clue misreading, and acceptable or unacceptable variations of responses,” the website states.

Ever so often, you might’ve witnessed the game being paused for the judges to consult with the research team. This is all done by picking up the receiver of the red phone. Head producers use the phone as a direct line to the director’s booth.