‘Jeopardy!’ EP Explains Change He Made Involving Mayim Bialik
Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies has been opening up about his role on the long-running game show and revealed one of the first changes he made when he stepped into the position. Davies took over at the show earlier this year following the departure of Mike Richards.
Speaking on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, he explained that the first change he made was the location where host Mayim Bialik looks when thanking the show’s long-time announcer Johnny Gilbert. At first, the Call Me Kat star would look out into the audience and thank Gilbert before turning to the camera and introducing the show.
However, Davies suggested that Bialik deliver her thanks directly to camera, explaining, “I think on a show about fact, it wasn’t right that we were looking over to an imaginary Johnny.” He continued, “Instead, you know, we thank him, because we should thank him in the beginning of the episode, but we thank him right down the camera, right down the lens because we know he watches every single episode.”
Gilbert has served as announcer on Jeopardy! since 1984, when the show was reintroduced to television as a daily syndicated program hosted by the late Alex Trebek. He was honored by Guinness World Records in 2017 for having the longest career as a game show announcer for a single show, at the time having spent 32 years with Jeopardy! These days, Gilbert records his announcements via a home studio.
“He’s got his studio day in his home, it’s all set up, we call him up and he reads all of the opens for the show, correctly and beautifully announcing each of the contestants’ names, and that is actually what goes into the show,” said associate director Sarah Whitcomb-Foss.
Whitcomb-Foss added that she “loved” the change of having Bialik thank Gilbert directly to camera. “Obviously we want to definitely acknowledge Johnny, but you felt it wasn’t authentic, that we were pretending he was in the audience,” she added.
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