‘Jeopardy!’ Bosses Make Big Rule Change Decision

Mike Davies and Sarah Foss

In a decision that is sure to make some Jeopardy! fans breathe a sigh of relief, producer Sarah Foss has revealed that a controversial rule change will no longer be happening.

The game show’s executive producer Mike Davies had previously suggested adding a cash bonus for contestants who swept an entire category of clues without jumping around the board. However, some fans felt that this would drastically affect the gameplay strategy.

On Monday’s (October 17) episode of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, Foss confirmed that the cash bonus idea had been nixed, for now, at least. “We’re not doing anything at this point. There’s no [cash] bonus; nobody get upset,” she said.

Not only will the show not be adding the cash bonus idea, but it will also stop celebrating those who run a category. “We actually decided we’re not going to call out the running of a category,” Foss explained. “Not even top to bottom, but [only if it happens] within five clues. So in future episodes, you might see, if it’s… five for five, that’s when we’re gonna give applause and acknowledge running the category.”

Davies’ suggestion was to give something extra for contestants to play for, meaning they could walk away with cash prizes, even if they didn’t perform well in overall points. He said it wouldn’t change who wins or add to the players’ scores, as it would be a “separate cash bonus.”

“It might also give incentive to people who are trailing to go into a category and get something from the game beyond their second or third place [consolation] prize,” Davies stated on a previous edition of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast.

Many fans expressed concerns about the idea, with one user of the Jeopardy! Reddit forum writing, “I’d worry about the category running bonus creating perverse incentives to do something other than ‘win the game’.” Another fan added, “Please, no bonuses for sweeping categories. We don’t need to be making changes to the basic gameplay.”

Even former Jeopardy! champion Buzzy Cohen was hesitant, telling Davies, “It’s going to affect gameplay strategy, and I don’t know if that’s something you’re interested in doing.”

But, for now, Jeopardy! is staying just as it is.

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