Get ready, game show fans — both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are heading back to the studio to start filming new episodes. The syndicated classics previously joined countless other productions that were forced to go on hiatus in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are returning to the studio to tape episodes for the shows' upcoming seasons," a statement from the studio read, according to Deadline. "The productions have protocols in place in accordance with current government guidelines to protect contestants, staff, crew and talent from the spread of COVID-19. While some things may have changed behind the scenes and on the set to keep everyone safe, fans can expect to see the same Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! they have come to love when the season starts."
There will be some physical changes to the sets to ensure everyone's safety. With Wheel of Fortune, the wheel has been redesigned to provide proper social distancing between contestants. Jeopardy!, meanwhile, has redesigned its stage to also allow for more space between the three contestant podiums. The hosts of each respective program will remain at a safe distance as well.
Other precautions including only allowing essential staff and crew on stage, readily available PPE for everyone who works behind the scenes and testing for all staff and crew on a regular basis. Each contestant will also be tested before they enter the studio ahead of their appearances. Of course, social distancing measures will also be rigorously enforced across the board. Jeopardy! will film five episodes a day, two days a week starting sometime this week. Wheel of Fortune is looking to return to the studio in the first week of August.
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in March of 2019, explained that he was "going through some bad times" when he wrote in his memoir, The Answer Is …: Reflections On My Life, that he wouldn't resume treatment. "My current numbers are very good, but we will have to be patient with this new immunotherapy program that I am on," Trebek wrote on Twitter. "But, if it were to stop being successful, I would return to my previous chemo treatment, NOT stop all treatment. I apologize for any confusion, and want everyone to know that I am optimistic about my current plan, and thank them for their concerns."