'Jeopardy!' Is About to Reinstate a Huge Pre-Pandemic Normalcy

Jeopardy! is returning to a pre-pandemic practice viewers have been longing for — filming in front of live studio audiences for the first time in two years. This week, the beloved game show announced that tickets are now available to attend in-person tapings of the quiz show filmed in Culver City, California.

"Welcome back to the Alex Trebek Stage!" Monday's announcement on social media read. "For the first time in two years, tickets for our studio audience are now available." The post included a video panning over the empty auditorium and the stage where the sharpest minds in trivia compete for supremacy. Jeopardy! is currently taping Season 39, and fans can expect to see some major announcements for Season 40 coming soon. Later this year, tapings will likely include the show's new permanent host – whoever that turns out to be.

It has been a difficult few years for the quiz show. Like most other TV productions, the show had to pivot quickly to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it struggled to keep up with its normal output. At the same time, long-time host Alex Trebek passed away in late 2020 due to pancreatic cancer. After four decades, it's understandable that the show's producers struggled to find their footing without Trebek's legacy to anchor them.

For the remainder of that season, Jeopardy! employed a rotating cast of guest hosts for one to two weeks at a time. Many of these stars discussed their abiding love for Jeopardy! and their interest in taking over as a full-time host. However, at the end of the season executive producer, Mike Richards was named the new host. This decision was unpopular on social media, and critics soon found evidence of workplace complaints against Richards, as well as an old podcast where he had said insensitive things as host.

Richards stepped down as both a host and an EP before Season 39 began, and instead, the show hired Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik to host most of the season. She split the time with former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, leaving fans in suspense about who would take the permanent job. Bialik and Jennings' episodes will air through July of 2022, so it's likely that the tapings being advertised now will include the new hosting lineup.

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There's no word yet on who will take the podium for Jeopardy! Season 40, but in June producers promised that an announcement was coming "very, very soon." After the show won a Daytime Emmy Award, EP Michael Davies told Variety that fans would soon learn the permanent Jeopardy! host as well as some plans for spinoffs and expansions of the franchise.