"A new top producer is hyping the streaks and pushing an approach that treats Jeopardy! more like a sport," reports The Wall Street Journal's John Jurgensen. "Michael Davies, a 55-year-old game-show guru known for Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, stepped in after the ouster of producer-turned-host Mike Richards. Mr. Davies is updating Jeopardy! with game stats typically seen on live sports broadcasts and data—tracking contestants’ clicks of their hand buzzers—that superfans have long craved. All this has helped push Jeopardy! to 9.2 million total same-day viewers on average in its current season, according to Nielsen data. That is up 7% from the same period last season, and a return to numbers associated with late host Alex Trebek. The show is capturing the biggest audience of any program on TV outside of sports." Jurgensen notes Davies "is using a playbook for Jeopardy! that has worked for other pop-culture franchises: superserve hard-core fans, and broader audiences will follow. For a game show rooted in facts, geeking out is on brand." Last week Davies introduced a sports-style box score to be published after every game. Davies, who only signed on for this season, tells the Journal: "I would find it very difficult to leave now." As for the hosting search, Jurgensen reports the fate of Mayim Bialik's Fox sitcom Call Me Kat will play a role in who hosts Jeopardy! full-time. But what could potentially happen is either Bialik or Jennings becoming full-time host. Whoever doesn't get the main job would host primetime specials and Jeopardy! spinoffs. ALSO: Amy Schneider on becoming Jeopardy! host: "It would certainly be a cool experience. It’s a lot harder than it looks...I‘d certainly consider it if somebody asked."
TOPICS: Amy Schneider, Jeopardy!, Michael Davies, Game Shows