‘Jeopardy!’ Contestants Get to Rehearse Games and It’s ‘Super Fun’

Jeopardy! contestants get to warm up before they tape an episode of the classic game show. Familiarizing themselves with the flow of gameplay and the buzzers is crucial. During a real game, players have to be at ease, ready to get tested on their trivia knowledge.

To get there they have to get used to a lot of stuff they don’t experience watching the award-winning game show at home. There’s the bright lights of the set, the added pressure of the studio audience, the game board, and, of course, Alex Trebek.

Alex Trebek stands at podium on 'Jeopardy!' Season 28
Alex Trebek on Jeopardy! | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Plus, there’s the thought of millions of people seeing the show on TV. Keep reading to learn what a Jeopardy! champion has to say about rehearsing for the game show and why it might just be more fun than the actual game. 

‘Jeopardy!’ tapes 46 days a year

Episodes of the syndicated game show tape 46 days a year. In one day, five episodes of Jeopardy! are taped. Part of Trebek’s pre-show routine means he arrives at the show’s studio in Culver City, California, in the early hours of the morning. He familiarizes himself with the clues and categories he will present to contestants throughout the day. Outfit changes for him and the players give the illusion the show is being taped on different days. 

As for the trivia that fills the game board, that responsibility falls on the show’s team of writers. They come up with more than 14,000 clues in one season. And they have extras on standby in case they need to swap one out at the last minute. 

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Julia Collins says practice games ‘build confidence’

When contestants arrive at the studio where Jeopardy! is taped, they’ve already made it through a lengthy audition process. Before they stand behind a podium with Trebek quizzing them, contestants get to practice. According to Jeopardy! champion Julia Collins, the practice games are one of the best parts of being a contestant. 

In a 2014 interview with HuffPost TV, the 20-time winner shared how players do indeed get to rehearse before they tape an episode. Designed to give the contestants a boost before they play a real game, the practice games mean no head-scratching clues.  

“The practice games are super fun because they’re easy so they really build your confidence,” Collins said. 

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She continued, saying it’s then players learn the mechanics of the game. 

“You get to write your name on the screen, get the buzzer and get the rhythm and feel for everything,” she added. 

For her, the practice games are enjoyable. 

“I thought that was a really, really fun part of the show. You get a feeling for what happens and what it feels like to be up there,” she said. 

Coming up with interesting facts about yourself is the ‘hardest thing’ 

Game shows are all about having fun but that doesn’t mean they aren’t challenging. And not in the ways one might expect. Apart from studying up on facts, Jeopardy! contestants have to come prepared with entertaining anecdotes about themselves.

According to Collins, the task is the most difficult thing about the show. She told HuffPost TV a Jeopardy! contestant coordinator always reminded her “to think of more stories.”

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