‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ is coming back for real

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

Jeopardy!” is bringing back a fan favorite — “Celebrity Jeopardy!” — but as a primetime limited series on ABC.

Similar to how Sony Pictures Television has a deal with ABC to air primetime tournaments and a “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” show, the quiz show is now planning a similar edition that will air back-to-back with “Wheel.”

The show used to host celebrity tournaments in the 1990s and 2000s but slowly phased them out. An alternative was “Power Players” weeks when taped in Washington, D.C. and featuring figures from politics and journalism.

“Celebrity Jeopardy!” also became part of American pop culture legend when it was spoofed by “Saturday Night Live,” with Will Ferrell playing then-host Alex Trebek and often featuring a clueless Sean Connery character. Another iteration, “Black Jeopardy!” was also featured, with Kenan Thompson playing the host (though his character was not meant to be a version of Trebek).

It’s not immediately clear who will host the hour-long specials, though Mayim Bialik has a deal with the show to host primetime specials at least through the end of the current season, so multiple media outlets are speculating she’ll take on hosting the celeb edition as well.

“Celebrity Jeopardy!” features celebrity guest players who donate their winnings to charity, with the show typically guaranteeing a minimum donation no matter how badly a celebrity performs. These games also typically give players at least some money even if they finish in the read at the end of “Double Jeopardy!” and wouldn’t normally be eligible, per game rules, to play in “Final Jeopardy!”

The shows become popular with viewers because they got to see just how smart and, not-quite-so-smart some of their favorite celebrities are. There’s also the added component of some celebs getting the hang of playing the game faster than others and therefore they tend to perform better.

Although “Jeopardy!” airs on different stations in different markets, in most major markets, it airs on the ABC affiliate. In markets where it airs on other station, the special, like the “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” ones, will still air on ABC as a network-level program.