Jeopardy! History Wiki
Jeopardy! set evolution (daily syndication).jpg

Welcome to the Jeopardy! Sets page.
This talks about the many sets used over the years.

3/30/1964-1/3/1975 (Jeopardy!)[]

Originally designed by Tom Trimble with later alterations by Merrill Sindler, the set featured contestant desks on the left and a game board on the right. The game board was covered by a blue cloth-type curtain, which revealed the categories and dollar values at the start of each round. A smaller board was used to reveal the category and clue during Final Jeopardy! clues were revealed by means of a pull-card. A jumbled Jeopardy! logo with an elongated font was featured on the contestant backdrop. Contestant scores were in slides (similar to Password). The contestant area, unlike the show today, had seats and desks in which contestants could sit. For the weekly syndicated version, the set used flashing lights & a larger Jeopardy! logo behind the players; the rest of the set remained the same. Early on in the run, the contestant podiums had a slightly different design, and the game board had the categories on the top and bottom of the board.

10/2/1978-3/2/1979 (The All-New Jeopardy!)[]

When the series was revived in 1978, a new set designed by Henry J. Lickel was introduced. A revised version of the "Jumbled" logo with a more standard typestyle was used. Contestants walked through sliding doors just behind their desks during their introductions. The game board was on the left side of the stage this time with the desks on the right; the contestants still sat down. This basic layout endures to modern day. The curtain on the game board was replaced by sliding panels, pull-cards were still used initially, later, flip panels similar to those on the classic Family Feud boards were used with the clue printed on the back side & the dollar amount printed on the front side. Contestants’ scores were in eggcrate display.

1983 (Pilot 1)[]

The set for the first pilot of the Alex Trebek-hosted series retained many of the elements from the Art Fleming Era, including the "Jumbled" logo used for the 1978-79 version. The contestant desks, backdrop, and game board resembled PCs from the technology era of the 1980s, but the game board still employed pull cards, which belied the more modern look of the rest of the game. Dollar values were the same as the 1978-79 run.

Jeopardy Pilot #1 1983 with Alex Trebek from Dailymotion.

1984 (Pilot 2)[]

The set was completely overhauled for the second pilot, also by Henry C. Lickel. The game board consisted of a wall of thirty television monitors, and the categories were backlit on cards above the monitors. The contestant podiums now had television monitors in the center displaying their names; plus, there were separate name cards above the monitors. Also, the contestants' scores were now in a 7-segment electromagnetically vane display which would become standard until 1991. A redesigned Jeopardy! logo was crafted out of red neon tubes; the lights on the logo flashed across one letter at a time in this pilot, there would be one light going across; the rest were darkened. For Final Jeopardy! contestants wrote their responses on an electronic tablet using a light pen; this would be done for all other sets since then. They can also use an index card and a marker to manually write their response should a problem arise with the tablet or pen. Dollar values were double that of the previous pilot $50-$250 for the JEOPARDY! round; $100-$500 for DOUBLE JEOPARDY!. Unlike the first three incarnations, players now stood behind their podiums rather than sitting at their desks, a setup which has been retained to present day.

9/10/1984-6/7/1985 (Season 1)[]

The set for the first season of Jeopardy! in syndication was the same as the one used for the second pilot but with minor facelifts. Starting with this season and lasting until the end of Season 7, the category headings would be in red text and would individually light up as Alex introduced each category and would turn off when all 5 clues in that category had been used up. At first, the category headings each had a red neon light and did not turn off when a category was finished nor turned on when the categories were announced; in fact, they stayed on throughout the show. At first, the Jeopardy! logo lights didn't flash until the beginning of the first season's third week, only this time it is one light off while the rest are lit, and the light chase went really fast.

9/9/1985-7/19/1991 (Seasons 2-7)[]

On September 9, 1985, the set was overhauled by art director Bob Rang into the form it would retain until 1991. The 9-foot Jeopardy! logo was this time in white neon with acrylic glass covering the letters and the light chase would slow down a bit; the acrylic glass would be gold colored from 1986 to 1991. An entrance arch was built for the contestant entrances in the open. Starting from this season onward, the values of the answers will be seen close-up before the clue is seen, the $100 value is rarely close-up. In Season 6, Alex wore glasses. For the first week of the second season only, the champion would stand at the third podium on the right, while the first challenger stood at the first podium on the left.

Also, 9 light bulbs were placed atop the contestant podiums to indicate how much time they had to respond to a clue. For each second that goes by, 2 lights turn off one on each end, meaning a player has 5 seconds to respond; the last light turning off meant the player ran out of time. To accommodate the rule change that players must wait until the clue was completely read before ringing in, a white light surrounds the game board, which is activated as soon as the clue has been completely read; the turning on of this light on the board is almost never seen on air, even to this day.

The category headings' neon lights changed from red to light blue, and like the first season, would light up as each category was announced, from this season until the end of Season 7, each would turn off when a category is finished; the neon light surrounding the category cards carried over from the first season set, but the lights were now blue; this was changed in season 4 to having the category cards backlit in blue, with the shape being changed in season 6 to look less like a TV tube. The set background changed from blue to red for the Double Jeopardy! and the Final Jeopardy! segments. Starting in Season 7, the lights went dark during Final Jeopardy!. At the end of each episode, the monitors flashed the Jeopardy! logo, the Final Jeopardy! logo, and the closing animations between the two camera shots, alternating between a blue screen, a red screen, the host, and the day's winner(s).

Super Jeopardy! (1990)[]

For the Super Jeopardy! tournament in the summer of 1990, the set used four podiums in the quarterfinal games; there would be the usual three for the semifinals and finals. This was also the first time the lights dimmed during Final Jeopardy!, which became permanent from Season 7 onward. Also, the category headings were in blue text instead of red as on the regular show. The surface of the set was hard instead of carpet. On this special show, contestants played for points instead of money. Also, the white parts of the podium were set in marble; this included the scoreboard outline, which was rounded off as opposed to squared off; this feature, albeit without the marbled texture, would carry over for the regular show's 7th season, and the part surrounding the center video monitors. The closing animations remained the same on the regular show.

9/2/1991-11/8/1996 (Seasons 8-13) "Grid Set"[]

At the start of Season 8 in the fall of 1991, a new state-of-the-art set was introduced, designed by art director Ed Flesh. The set consisted of a metal grid backdrop that is set on a blue background, where the Jeopardy! logo lights up in a rotation of colors, such as neutral white and red. During the Double Jeopardy! round and Final Jeopardy! round segments, the set changed its color from blue to red, as the nine-foot Jeopardy! logo is still neutral white, and changed its color to a rotation of neutral white and blue. During the first couple months of the set's run, all three colors lit up like the American flag. It was used during the contestant introductions, in and out of commercial breaks, and during the closing credits.

For the first season of the set's run, the nine-foot Jeopardy! logo changed its color to a rotation of neutral white, blue, and red. The contestant podiums had a brand new look, while the host's podium gained a new look. Other elements changed for the new season included the contestant scores, which were now displayed using incandescent seven-segment displays so they could be seen when the set went dark during Final Jeopardy! In addition, the monitors on the game board were changed from 30" to 36", which made it easier for contestants to read the clues as they were displayed.

The categories were now displayed on a new row of monitors at the top of the board, and were introduced using various types of animation at the start of each round. Initially, the category monitors started out completely blank, with the category names popping in as each category was announced; this was later changed to a zoom-in effect as each category was announced. By the next season, the animation was changed to show the names of each category broken into distorted pieces top and bottom, and as each category was announced, the pieces would come together to form the entire name. For Season 8 only, an image of Alex appeared on the game board.

At the beginning of each episode, the monitors display the show's logo as a single image across the entire board; just before Alex's entrance, the board would transition on-camera from a single large logo to having a single logo displayed on each monitor, with animated transitions ranging from zigzags, spirals, merges, and multiple spirals; this practice would continue until 2010. From Season 9 until the end of this set's run, both the backgrounds for the contestant monitors and the main backdrop changed to red for Double Jeopardy!. At the end of each episode, the monitors display the Jeopardy! logo, which no longer flashes, and no longer alternates between a blue screen, and a red screen. So they used the closing animations between the two camera shots; the host, and the day's winners, just like the one you see on the game board. Beginning with season 9, the contestant interviews were moved to after completion of the first round, but was moved back in Season 13, where they remain to the present day.

11/11/1996-11/8/2002 (Seasons 13-19) "Sushi Bar Set"[]

On November 11, 1996, two months after the start of Season 13, Jeopardy! introduced a new set designed by production designer Naomi Slodki. The set consisted of wood paneling with columns at each corner. The glass windows can be seen behind the contestant podiums. The Jeopardy! logo no longer lights up in a rotation of colors. The Jeopardy! logo appeared on the sliding doors, where Alex made his entrance by walking down a tiny staircase. The contestant podiums gained a new look, while the host podium gained a new look, keeping with the wood theme for the rest of the set's run. The game board consisted of a wood paneling backdrop, and the stage floor consisted of a gray marble circle with a golden border on top, to match the backdrop of the set. On some episodes during Celebrity Jeopardy!, the celebrity contestants make their entrance by walking down a tiny staircase; the doors would then remain open before Alex's entrance.

On the first episode of the set's run, the contestant podium monitors changed from blue to red in the Double Jeopardy! segment for the final time, though the background turned red for the rest of the show, and remained red at the end of the episode. Later episodes had the set reverting back to blue during the end credits and the contestant podium monitors remained blue throughout the entire episode. Gone are the closing animations between the Jeopardy! logo, as well as the host, and the day's winners. So the closing credits will now appear over different angles of the set, as well as the host and the contestants.

The animation for the category introductions was changed as well. Now, as the dollar figures were loaded onto the board, the category screens remained blank, with the category names flying in from top and bottom, coming together to form a complete word or phrase. Beginning the following season, the category screens showed whichever logo was appropriate, a standard show logo for the Jeopardy! round or a Double Jeopardy! logo for the second round, which would rotate upward to show the category name. Starting in 2000 and continuing to the present day, the category name simply dissolved in.

Also in Season 14, the microphones on the contestant podiums were removed, and the contestants wear clip-on microphones. Also, for the first time, show directors were able to show the studio audience, as the audience area had been redesigned to be camera-friendly. Starting with the October 6, 1997 episode, the set background remained blue throughout the entire episode. However, on the January 23, 1998 Celebrity Jeopardy! Sportscasters episode, the set turned red in Double Jeopardy! for the very last time. The only other noted color change with the set backdrop took place on the February 14, 1997 Teen Tournament Finals episode, during which the set was a rather unusual pink shade during the end credits.

Over the years, the colors in use for the set's lighting have changed slightly. When the sushi bar set debuted on November 11, 1996, the glass consisted of a darker shade of pink with the grid in purple. On 1997-2000 episodes, the glass consisted of a lighter shade of pink with the grid in blue, but became more of a purple color. On 2000-2002 episodes, the pink on the sliding doors were replaced by a very pale lavender.

Though not related to the set design itself, early 1998 saw one additional format change; when returning from commercial break for the Double Jeopardy! round, the dollar figures no longer popped into the screens as they did at the top of the show. Instead, they were already present on the board coming out of the second commercial break. This was first seen during the Tournament of Champions in February and became permanent in March.

Beginning with the March 20, 2000 episode and continuing to the present day, the audience no longer applauded coming out of the second commercial break, the audience was already silent returning from the commercial break for the Double Jeopardy! round. Starting in Season 17 and continuing to the present day, the contestants were already standing at their podiums at the start of the show. This was first seen on the October 7, 1997 episode, before becoming permanent several weeks later. Prior to this, only blind contestants were already standing at their podiums during the introductions, something which had happened only five times prior (not counting the 1997 International Tournament). All five took place during the previous season, including notable five-time champion Eddie Timanus.

On September 19, 1997, to celebrate the show's 3,000th episode, the contestants were standing at their podiums as normal when the show started. Before the players were introduced, however, Alex made his entrance to deliver a brief monologue to mark the occasion; after this, the contestants were introduced, and the show continued as normal.

11/25/2002-7/24/2009 (Seasons 19-25) "Metallic Set"[]

On the November 25, 2002 episode, two months after the start of Season 19, Jeopardy! introduced another new set, also designed by Naomi Slodki. It featured hanging panels with stone fixtures and metallic finishes, as well as translucent light blue glass. The set included unique trapezoid-shaped podiums, which replaced the seven-segment displays from the sushi bar set with large LCD screens that displayed the scores with large white numbers using a conventional font.

Taking advantage of the improved technology, the score displays used a blue background for positive scores, and a red background for negative scores. During the first week with this set, the background changed from blue to red when the lights dimmed during Final Jeopardy!, a somewhat revived practice from the '80's and '90's when the Double Jeopardy! round was in play. However, from the second week until the end of Season 21, the set stayed blue throughout the entire show, only for the practice to return in Season 22, and has continued since then to the present day.

In the fall of 2006, Jeopardy! and its sister show Wheel of Fortune became the first game shows to broadcast in high definition when they premiered their 23rd and 24th seasons respectively. As part of the transition to HD, the set received minor facelifts. The game board, which up until then had used traditional CRT screens, was replaced with a nearly seamless projection wall, similar to those used by the show's traveling sets from 1997 until 2008, possibly the same one previously used for Rock & Roll Jeopardy!. The contestant podiums were also completely redesigned for the wider 16:9 aspect ratio the show had begun to use. The new podiums replaced the trapezoidal design for a more traditional rectangular appearance, with wood trim at the top and bottom and black matte around the screens. Initially, the ring-in lights were red, but starting with the third week of Season 23, they were changed to white, as the red lights didn't show up well enough on camera. The new podiums also spaced the contestants farther apart to make framing shots in a 16:9 image simpler.

During Season 25 only, the dollar figures didn't pop into the board for the Jeopardy! round, they were already present following the introductions. The host's podium and contestant podiums from this set are now in the Jeopardy! Hall of fame, which opened in mid-September 2011.

9/14/2009-8/2/2013 (Seasons 26-29) "CES Set"[]

In 2009, Jeopardy! rolled out a brand new state-of-the-art set, designed again by Naomi Slodki. This set was first used on the Celebrity Jeopardy! and Tournament of Champions episodes aired March 10-24, 2009, all while the show was being taped at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (making true to its name the CES set), and was then put permanently into use from the start of Season 26 onward. It is now designed specifically for HD and features Sony's latest technology. The game board is now a wall of 36 42-inch Sony HD flat panel LCD monitors (the game board on the traveling set now uses smaller LCD monitors), it is also three feet wider than the previous game boards since it uses 16:9 monitors. The contestant podiums are also comprised of flat-panel monitors but on their sides. A large monitor is placed between the contestant podiums and Alex's podium and displays the Jeopardy! logo throughout most of the game. The monitor between Alex and the contestants also reveals the Final Jeopardy! category just before the third commercial break a somewhat revived practice from the Art Fleming era and because of that, Alex remained at his podium prior to this he stood in front of the game board, though both the category and clue continue to be revealed on the game board and Alex continued to stand in front of it during the first two seasons of this set's run. Behind Alex's podium are sliding doors, in which Alex would make his entrance similar to when the Sushi Bar set was in use. Another notable feature of the set is the contestant backdrop, which is comprised of multi-colored triangles and "spider web" like designs consisting of black and white lines. The contestant podium scores are always shown on a blue background this time, while positive scores continue to be shown in white text, negative scores are shown in red text on a blue background.

Also on the Season 26 premiere, the practice of popping in the dollar figures on the Jeopardy! round board returned but with a different sound effect: The figures popped in using 6 musical notes, with one different dollar value in view during each note. Beginning in Season 26 and continuing to the present day, the contestant podium monitors reverted back to the Final Jeopardy! logo at the end of the show.

On the episode aired March 15, 2010, consolation prizes ($2,000 for 2nd place and $1,000 for third place) began appearing on the contestant podium score displays at the conclusion of the game, appearing as blue text on a white background. Shown under the consolation scores are the logos for the prizes' sponsor, Aleve.

Starting in Season 28, Alex made his entrance from behind the game board instead of through the sliding doors rendering them stationary, and remained at his podium throughout the whole game due to Achilles Tendon injury he suffered when he chased a robber in San Francisco, however, on the episode aired December 12, 2011, Alex returned to conducting the contestant interviews near the contestant podiums, and he continues to stand in front of the board when revealing the Final Jeopardy clue and category on road shows. During the second week of this season, the sponsor for the consolation prizes began appearing on the contestant podiums at the conclusion of the game.

Two podiums from this set were used on The Queen Latifah Show.

9/16/2013-present (Seasons 30-present) "30th Anniversary Set"[]

In 2013, the Jeopardy! set underwent a significant remodeling for the show's 30th Anniversary Season and features elements from the first three Naomi Slodki designed sets. The sliding doors behind Alex's podium were removed and replaced by what appears to be a ramp or some sort of curved pillar, the "ramp" or "pillar" behind the board has blue LED strips and thus reminds viewers of the pre-2006 metallic set. While the blue curtain from the CES set is retained, the backdrop is modified. Now there is a column-and-beam design with three LED strips and a white LED pattern on the beam and rectangular LED posts on the columns, the Colum-and-beam backdrop resembles the set used at Radio City Music Hall, the sushi bar set, and the current generic backdrop used on Wheel of Fortune. While retaining the 42-inch LCD monitors, the game board is changed to match the backdrop, also consisting of the LED strips and sushi bar like pattern on top and rectangular LED posts on the sides. Alex's podium was redone in a similar manner and, for the first time since the Fleming era, has the Jeopardy! logo. The multi-colored triangles and "spider-web" framework were replaced with curved lines and an extremely long curved shape that changes color, mainly ocean blue and purple. Additionally, the "piano key" LEDs were removed from the floor, and the contestant side was raised to create a single level floor. The contestant podiums resemble the ones used 2006-2009 while retaining the sideways monitors. And the large monitor between Alex and the contestants is also retained from the CES set but this time mounted on a "walrus tusk" post. The new set has various nicknames such as "30th-anniversary set," "aquatic set," "Parthenon set," "Radio City Music Hall 2.0," "CES set 2.0," and "Vegas 2.0," it is unknown what nickname works most appropriately, but the first one might work best.

Between December 21, 2015 and January 1, 2016, Alex remained at his podium throughout the entire game for the first time since Season 28 due to his full knee replacement surgery. He no longer walked onto the set during the introductions but is already at his podium. Also, he uses a cane for post-game chats with the contestants during the closing credits.

On the July 15, 2016 episode, Aleve sponsored the prizes for the last time. Beginning with the July 18, 2016 episode and continuing to the present day, the prizes were no longer sponsored.

During Season 33, a new sound effect for the dollar figures popping in was added to replace the previous one, although the loading pattern from Season 26 remains.

Starting with the second week of October 2017, a month after the start of Season 34, barriers between the contestants used for Final Jeopardy! are now retractable. Also, contestants remain at their podiums during the end credits.

During Season 37, the set underwent a few cosmetic changes. The contestant podiums are now spaced wider apart. In Final Jeopardy!, each podium uses barriers, with the middle player's podium using barriers on each side of the player. The host's podium was redesigned. The monitor between the host and the contestants are now mounted on two posts that resemble the columns, and it is also bordered by white "sushi bar" LEDs. Additionally, a couple cosmetic changes from The Greatest of All Time special carried over, most notably the golden arches and the removal of the "pillar" on the right side of the game board.

For more photos, please see the other Jeopardy! Sets page.!/Sets

Jeopardy! The Greatest of All-Time (2020)[]

For the Jeopardy! Greatest of All-Time tournament in January 2020, the set underwent a few cosmetic modifications. The backdrop is a starry navy-blue background, similar to that used on Wheel of Fortune. Alex's podium, the contestant podiums, and the curved post mounting the large monitor have a gradient that resembles the stone panels from the 2002-2009 set. The bottom of the "ramp" on the right side of the game board is removed. And there are two thick golden arches on the stage floor, starting in front of the game board and ending in front of the contestant lecterns. The long curved shape is blue throughout most of the show but is orange during the introductions and when the lights dim for Final Jeopardy! Additionally, the background for clues is a darker blue than on the regular shows, and the dollar amounts (actually points) for clues are in various shades of gold.

Traveling Sets[]

There have also been various sets used for when the show goes on the road for specific tournaments and events. These sets are fabricated in Southern California before being shipped to their respective road venues for taping. The 1997 International Tournament and 2009 Tournament of Champions, however, didn't use traveling sets; the former took place on the set of the Swedish version, and the other became the primary set at Sony Pictures Studios.