Jeopardy! It has been around for so long that it is almost unsurprising that it completely changed the traditional game show format. After scandals of cheating exposed the underbelly to many popular quiz shows of the 1950s and 1960s, a trivia game show was created. Here’s the unbelievable, yet totally true, story of how Jeopardy! The inconceivable scandal made the American institution a favorite.
American television game shows had a long tradition dating back to before the invention of television. Jeopardy!’s debut in 1964. Before that, there were game shows at a radio institution. Programs like Please contact us for more information and Groucho Marx’s You Can Bet Your Life in the thirties and forties, entertained their listeners.
1954 was the Supreme Court’s year. A ruling was handed down in the case FCC against American Broadcasting Co. This case ruled that giveaways are not gambling and allowed game shows to win much bigger prizes. There was no larger prize than CBS’s The $64,000 QuestionThe first appearance of the was in 1955. That’s about $652,000 in 2021 money if you’re curious.
It was a huge success in a way that no other show has ever been. It was the only show you could beat I Love LucyIn in the ratings. It was soon spun off. The 64,000 Challenge, and spawned imitators like NBC’s Twenty-One. The programs made ordinary people into extraordinary figures. Producers soon discovered that some contestants were more popular than others. This is how a scandal starts.
1950s Game Show Scandals
The contestants were told to lose and that the episodes would end in a fixed fashion. Twenty-OneIn an effort to keep the audience interested, everything was in place from the beginning. These show’s losers quickly made a fuss and soon a grand jury was established. These scandals were portrayed in the 1994 film Quiz Show, Best Picture nominee for the 1994 loaded class (it was defeated too). Forrest GumpAssoc. Pulp Fiction. Shawshank Redemption?, Four Weddings, and a Funeral. What a year.
Congress soon declared that fixing game shows were illegal. The game show boom came to a swift end, but one important man mourned their loss” Merv Griffin.
Birth Of An Institution
Griffin believed game shows could exist in 1963. Still making a comeback despite scandals that had tarnished its reputation. His wife made a joke about how everyone thought contestants were being fed answers. “Why don’t you do a show where you give the contestants the answers?”They quickly came up with the idea of requiring QuestionsInstead of searching for answers. Hence, Jeopardy! The birth of the first child.
The program became very popular immediately after its reboot by Alex Trebek in 1984. A Completely different scandal this year’s show has been a disaster. Who will be the permanent host? This question is not clear.