If you’re a game show producer or writer, landing a job at Jeopardy! must be the pinnacle of success. It’s one of the longest-running game shows on television and has an impeccable reputation. So, it’s no wonder why once someone gets a job at the show, they don’t leave.
Former host Alex Trebek, who died last year of pancreatic cancer, said the turnover rate at the show was practically zero.
“There is no turnover here,” the Canadian-born host told Business Insider. “Working for Jeopardy! is an annuity. You start, and you go on forever. In the early days, we had some writers and researchers who left after just a few years, but mostly our writing staff has been with us for ages.”
Nearly every behind-the-scenes expose or a day-in-the-life article paint Jeopardy! as a workplace that is fast-paced and high-pressure but paradoxically calm and routine. A lot of that comes from the show’s format, and the rest seems to be how the producers work with their teams.
In a 2014 New Republic article, the author wrote that the staff said Trebek and the show’s producers are good bosses. And with the longevity of the show and little turnover, the average Jeopardy! employee is a bit older and “dowdier” than you’d find at other game shows.
Especially now, considering as networks try to press new game show formats into the reality show molds. Making them a place where needless drama and bad behavior are qualities they want in a contestant. Jeopardy!’s format has remained relatively unchanged in its nearly 40-year history.
What It’s Like To Work At ‘Jeopardy!’
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, recently wrote about filming his Jeopardy! episodes. He’s currently guest-hosting the show. And in his behind-the-scenes blogs, the neurosurgeon gave fans an idea of what working at Jeopardy! is like.
“The Jeopardy! team of producers, writers, and Clue Crew is considered the very best in the business, and it was easy to see why. It is a finely tuned machine with professionals at the top of its game. Mike Richards, Lisa Broffman, Rocky Schmidt, and Billy Wisse led the daily meeting that took place in an actual library!,” Gupta wrote on a CNN blog.
“We sat around a table surrounded by voluminous sets of biographies and bibliographies. It even had that perfect library smell. If someone wasn’t sure about a clue, one of the genius writers would run off to a row of books, pull out the appropriate text and start flipping through pages. Sure, there was someone at a computer as well, but the whole feel of the meeting was so studious and so scholarly: very Jeopardy!“
Gupta said the game show was so diligent in its approach that he prepared for each episode the way he would brain surgery.
“In many ways, I prepped for the guest-hosting role the way I prepare for an operation, diligently reviewing not only the diagnosis and anatomy of the patient but the space and environment where I would be performing the operation.”