Earlier this month, ABC announced the exciting news that it had yet another new Jeopardy! spin-off show in the works. Up until now, we only knew who would be competing, but we didn’t know the mechanics of this brand new tournament. On January 16, Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies gave us the inside scoop on Jeopardy Masters.
On Monday’s episode of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, Davies revealed that the new primetime Jeopardy! show will consist of 10 one-hour episodes hosted by the one and only Ken Jennings. According to Davies, his goal with Masters is to create Jeopardy!‘s very own annual Super Bowl-style event.
As producer Sarah Foss explained, each hour-long show will consist of “two half-hour games,” meaning we’ll see two different 3-player matchups each episode. “We’ve experimented with a few different formats since I’ve joined Jeopardy!… but we felt that the true test of our ‘Jeopardy Masters’ would be to repeatedly face each other.”
Davies continued: “ABC wanted 10 episodes, and they wanted 10 hours, and we figured out that over 10 hours, if we did two half-hour games back-to-back, which would give us 20 games, 20 games would be the perfect combination to have all six of our top players play each other in every combination.”
However, this won’t be two typical Jeopardy! games back-to-back. According to Davies, the game will follow a “league-based system,” meaning that with every win a player achieves, they’ll go up in the rankings. As Davies notes, wins are important here. The show will reportedly follow a “points-based system” rather than the traditional money count. The executive producer thinks this method “will truly unearth who is the Jeopardy master.”
That’s not the only news that Davies came to share, though. While appearing on the podcast, Davies also announced yet another new Jeopardy! tournament in the works. “Qualifying for Jeopardy Masters will be a combination of the TOC winner from next year and a new tournament, which we have not scheduled yet, but we are committing to verbally today, which is the JIT, the ‘Jeopardy Invitational Tournament,’ where we will be inviting back past champions, past great players, players from previous seasons.”
It seems like this new competition will, in future seasons, precede the Masters championship. “The winner of [the ‘Invitational Tournament’], and perhaps the second place finisher, will themselves qualify for Masters.” However, since this year’s Masters will likely kick off before the first Invitational, lower-ranking Masters competitors will get a second chance in the upcoming Invitational.
According to Davies, their goal is to expand the Jeopardy! post-season universe, building up the ultimate “Jeopardy! pyramid.” While all of these new shows are a bit hard to imagine right now, it’s clear that producers are working to completely transform Jeopardy! into the world’s premiere trivia competition.