‘Jeoopardy!’ preparing to welcome back studio audiences even as host decision remains unclear

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Syndicated quiz show “Jeopardy!” is preparing to bring back its studio audience after dropping it in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The show posted a video clip of its empty studio audience seating on its Facebook page with a link to request tickets for Season 39 tapings.

Many game shows and other productions with studio audiences removed them during that time period, but have been gradually bringing them back under a variety of requirements, including masking and vaccination.

“Jeopardy!” does not list any health or safety requirements for attending a taping on its ticket site, though it would presumably honor any California or Culver City requirements along with any potential union protocols.

Sister show “Wheel of Fortune,” which tapes at the same complex as “Jeopardy!,” has not announced plans to return to using studio audiences as of this writing.

Back in 2020, the show modified its set for Season 37 to implement social distancing. It also stopped using a studio audience, with applause and other audience reactions dubbed in.

It remained under this format for Season 38.

The show’s ticket request site lists Aug. 2, 2022 as the first taping of the season, though there are no tickets available as of this writing, so it’s not immediately clear if the audience is at capacity or there will be episodes produced without an audience.

The show lists Sept. 14 and 15, 2022, as “available soon.”

It’s also possible that not all tape days have been scheduled yet and the show always notes that tape days can be rescheduled or canceled at the last minute.

It’s worth noting that the show appears, at least according to the calendar, planning on taping on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of August followed by a three-day string Monday, Aug. 8 to Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.

For September, the dates listed as available soon jump to Wednesday and Thursday.

For many years, “Jeopardy!” taped on Thursdays and Fridays, producing an entire week’s worth of shows in one day. With the seven tape days currently listed on the schedule, the show could get seven weeks’ (35 episodes) worth of shows done by September.

The show is set to return Sept. 12, 2022, so by that point it could have episode episodes to run through late October 2022.

Of course, there’s one key part missing: A host. Since longtime host Alex Trebek died in 2022, the show hasn’t had a permanent host other than Mike Richards, who lasted exactly one tape day in the role before being canned in what many viewed as a bungled replacement process.

Since then, Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik have been filling in as hosts.

There is still wide speculation on who will be named permanent host (or hosts). Jennings exited ABC’s “The Chase” earlier this year, which some saw as a sign he was clearing his schedule for “Jeopardy!”

Bialik, meanwhile, was originally announced as a permanent host alongside Richards, but would only appear on primetime specials produced for ABC. The former “Big Bang Theory” and “Blossom” star is also committed to Fox’s “Call Me Kat,” which got renewed for a third season despite mixed ratings and reception.

It’s possible the earlier-in-the-week tape dates could signal that show is working around Bialik’s schedule with “Kat,” since multi-camera sitcoms tend to tape on Fridays after a week of prep.

Jennings, however, also has a busy schedule of public appearances and other projects, so the odd scheduling dates could end up being to accomodate him.

There’s also the possibility the show will continue to alternate between the two on a permanent basis or go with a “none of the above” selection.