Jeopardy! set evolution (daily syndication)

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

03/30/1964-01/03/1975 (Jeopardy!)Edit

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 podiums, unlike the show today, had seats 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.

10/02/1978-03/02/1979 (The All-New Jeopardy!)Edit

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)Edit

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. Unlike the first two incarnations, players now stood behind their podiums rather than sitting, a setup which has been retained to present day.

1984 (Pilot 2)Edit

The set was completely overhauled for the second pilot, also by Henry C. Lickel, looking more like the 1984-85 set. 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!.

09/10/1984-06/07/1985 (Season 1)Edit

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 later in that first season, only this time it is one light off while the rest are lit, and the light chase went really fast.

09/09/1985-07/19/1991 (Seasons 2-7)Edit

In 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 Trebek started wearing 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 is 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. The set background changed from blue to red for Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy!. Starting in Season 7 and continuing into the present, the lights dimmed during Final Jeopardy!. At the end of each episode, the monitors flashed the Jeopardy! logo, as well as the Final Jeopardy! logo, and they used closing animations between the two camera shots, and it alternates between a blue screen, and a red screen, Alex, and the day's winner(s).

Super Jeopardy! (1990)Edit

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.

09/02/1991-11/08/1996 (Seasons 8-13) "Grid Set"Edit

At the start of Season 8 in the fall of 1991, the 1991-1996 set made its debut and was designed by art director Ed Flesh. The set consisted of a metal grid backdrop that took place on a blue background, where the revised nine-foot Jeopardy! logo changed its color to a rotation of 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 this set's run, all three colors would light up. It was used during the contestant introductions, going into and coming out of commercial breaks, and during the closing credits. For the first half of the entire season, 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, same with Alex Trebek's podium.

The contestant scores atop the podiums were in an incandescent seven-segment display so they could be seen when the lights go dark during Final Jeopardy!. Also, the monitors on the game board were changed from 30 to 36. The contestants can see the clues in a more sleeker quality, and the categories were now displayed in monitors with various types of animation to reveal the categories at the start of each round. For its first season using the set, the category monitors were blank and the category names popped in as each category was announced but would later zoom in as each category was announced; by Season 9, it was changed to show the names of the categories broken up into pieces top and bottom and the pieces would go together as each category was announced.

The game board monitors also made crazy designs that started off as it's show's logo on the whole board, then was broken into individual logos in each monitor, therefore covering up the dollar values to be revealed as Alex gets the show underway, using zigzags, spirals, merges, and multiple spirals. This usually occurred on camera after Johnny Gilbert introduced Alex Trebek. This continued until 2010, based on people watching future episodes. In 2010, the monitors changed its technology. The set was best known for its metal grid backdrop, making true to its nickname the "grid set". Also, from Season 9 until the end of this set's run, the backgrounds for the contestant monitors changed to red for Double Jeopardy! to match the backdrop. In addition, the contestant interviews would be moved from after the first commercial break to after completion of the first round, but starting in Season 13 and continuing to the present, the contestant interviews were moved back to after the first commercial break. At the end of the show, the game board's monitors can see the Jeopardy! logo, which no longer flashes, and it would not alternate between a blue screen, and a red screen, so they used the closing animations between the two camera shots: Alex, and the day's winners, just like the one you see on the game board.

11/11/1996-11/08/2002 (Seasons 13-19) "Sushi Bar Set"Edit

On November 11, 1996, two months after the start of Season 13, Jeopardy! introduced an entirely new set, designed by Naomi Slodki. The set consisted of a more wood-like appearance, and the contestant podiums had a brand new look, as did Alex Trebek's podium. One notable new feature of the set was the show's logo no longer changed its color to a rotation of neutral white and red/blue; it was emblazoned on sliding doors, which consist of the "P" and "A", where Alex made his entrance by walking down a small staircase.

On some episodes during Celebrity weeks, celebrities walked onto the set by walking down a small staircase, and to their contestants podiums during their introductions. The backdrop behind the contestants, and for the entire set, consisted of dark gray granite columns and huge wood panels with small etched glass windows.

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 last time. The camera did not zoom in on the dollar values from the top and bottom, so the closing animations between the Jeopardy! logo, and Alex and the day's winners are dropped. So now, the camera would show various shots of the set, as well as various shots of Alex and the day's winners.

In the first season of this set's run, the categories were blank, and the categories zoomed in from the top and bottom, and coming together. Beginning in Season 14, the categories were covered by a Jeopardy! logo, Double Jeopardy!, Final Jeopardy!, and a logo of a particular tournament. From 1997-2000, the categories rotated the page up, and from 2000-present, the category effect screen faded in.

Also starting in Season 14, the podium microphones were removed, so the contestants started to wear clip-on microphones, which have been used on all other sets since then. Also, at long last, the studio audience can now be seen during Alex's entrance, in and out of commercial breaks, and during the closing credits.

After the October 3, 1997 episode, the set no longer turned red in Double Jeopardy!. Before that date with this set, the background color would switch back to blue at the show's close. However, on the January 23, 1998 Celebrity Jeopardy! Sportscasters episode, the set turned red in Double Jeopardy! for the very last time, and on February 14, 1997 Teen Tournament Finals episode, the set was a rather unusual pink shade at the show's close.

For the first two seasons of the set's run, the glass was back-lit in pink and the grid in purple for the Jeopardy! round, while they both were in purple for Double Jeopardy!, and, for the third and fourth season, the glass and grid remained the same throughout the entire episode: pink glass with a blue grid. For the rest of the entire time of this set, the pink on the sliding doors has changed its color to a pale lavender.

Also in early 1998, the practice of popping in the dollar figures on the Double Jeopardy! board ended; they were already present in the monitors 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 first episode aired in the third week of March 2000, the audience no longer applauded coming out of the 2nd commercial break.

Starting in Season 17 to the present day, the contestants were already standing at their podiums. Previously in the last few seasons, blind contestants who made their appearances were already standing at their podiums during their introductions; this happened only 5 times before Season 17 not counting the 1997 International Tournament, all occurring in Season 16 when the first ever blind Jeopardy! contestant Eddie Timanus appeared and won five consecutive games. On September 19, 1997, the contestants were standing at their podiums to celebrate the 3,000th episode of the show and the players were introduced after Alex Trebek came through the sliding doors. For no apparent reason on the October 7, 1997 episode, all three contestants appeared already standing at their podiums for the very first time.

11/25/2002-07/24/2009 (Seasons 19-25) "Metallic Set"Edit

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, making true to its name the metallic set. The set also featured trapezoid-shaped podiums, and the score displays were changed from incandescent seven-segment display to blue and red video displays with dynamic scoring. It meant that positive scores were displayed in blue while negative scores were shown in red. 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 80s and 90s when the Double Jeopardy! round was in play. But from the second week until the end of Season 21, the set stayed blue throughout the entire show. However, starting in Season 22 and continuing to today, the set turning red when the lights dim during Final Jeopardy! became permanent. In addition, when the set debuted, there were no outer lights on the podium; those debuted starting in Season 20.

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 was replaced with a nearly seamless projection wall, a seamless projection wall was part of the show's traveling sets from 1997 until 2008; a similar or perhaps the same one was used for Rock & Roll Jeopardy!. The podiums from the pre-HD version of this set were replaced with more "HD-friendly" ones. The trapezoid-shaped contestant podiums were replaced with more rectangular-shaped ones and were now spaced wider apart so that a camera shot could be trained on a single contestant within a 16:9 ratio frame without showing the other contestants on the sides of the screen. Also, the contestant podiums originally had red ring-in lights, but from the third week of Season 23 until the end of this set's run, they were changed to white due to visibility issues.

During Season 25 only, the dollar figures didn't pop in on the Jeopardy! round board; 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.

09/14/2009-08/02/2013 (Seasons 26-29) "CES Set"Edit

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.

On the episode aired March 15, 2010, consolation prizes ($2000 for 2nd place and $1000 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.

09/16/2013-present (Season 30-present) "30th Anniversary Set"Edit

Although Jeopardy! did not receive a completely new set as it did in 2009, the 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, to 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.

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.

Traveling SetsEdit

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.

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