‘Jeopardy!’ Secrets: Contestants Stand on Adjustable Platforms So They All Appear the Same Height on Camera

There’s a reason Jeopardy! is one of the most popular game shows on the air. While the questions can at times be complex and difficult, the premise of the show is devastatingly simple and has remained the same throughout the show’s duration.

The legendary host Alex Trebek may have passed away, but the show will continue on without him. There are some secrets about the show that even some of the most diehard fans may not realize. Let’s take a closer look at one Jeopardy! secret about how they make all the contestants look the same height. 

Alex Trebek, left, with Ken Jennings on 'Jeopardy!' in 2004
Alex Trebek, left, with Ken Jennings on ‘Jeopardy!’ in 2004 | Jeopardy Productions via Getty Images

‘Jeopardy!’ has been running the same format for many years

If you’ve never seen Jeopardy!, it’s pretty easy to understand the format. Three contestants are provided five clues in six categories. They vary in difficulty, with the more difficult ones awarding more money.

Contestants are then provided the answer and are expected to provide the question, meaning they must answer in the form of a question. While it’s simple enough to understand, it takes a well-versed, intelligent individual to win the game. 

According to the Jeopardy! website, the show has been on the air for over 30 years. Before his passing last year, Trebek hosted more than 8,000 episodes.

A permanent replacement has yet to be identified. There have been a number of guest hosts including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and TV doctor Dr. Oz. Former champion Ken Jennings and executive producer Mike Richards have also taken a turn. 

There are a lot of secrets about how ‘Jeopardy’ is run

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’: Dr. Mehmet Oz Takes Over the Lectern as Guest Host and Fans Aren’t Happy

The Jeopardy! website also goes into great detail about a number of behind-the-scenes details about the show that you may not know. For example, did you know that the clues aren’t simply read by the host? They also appear on the contestants’ monitors, so they can read along. 

  • Contestants aren’t allowed to ring in until the host has finished reading the answer, either. A signal light indicates that the host is finished, and if they ring in too early, they’ll actually be locked out.
  • The contestant who last provided the correct response has control of the board until someone else takes it. To help the host understand this, a small indicator light on the contestant’s podium will stay lit.
  • Whenever a clue is selected, it must then appear on the screen. This seems like it would be an automated process, but it is not. The Jeopardy team has a staff member backstage who does this using a computer.
  • Contestants also have the ability to follow the score as they play, as a scoreboard appears in their line of sight. 
  • The host often references the “judges” to make a ruling. There is actually a judge’s table located in front of the studio audience. They also have a red phone that puts them in touch with the director if needed. 

There’s one other Jeopardy! secret you may not know, and it has to do with how they even out each contestant’s height. 

How the ‘Jeopardy!’ producers make sure all the contestants appear to be the same height

While each Jeopardy! contestant typically has a different height, they never appear that way. The show’s producers go to great lengths to ensure everyone looks to be the same height.

Every contestant podium has a riser inserted into it that is adjustable. Depending on a contestant’s height, their platform can be raised or lowered to match the other contestants. That ensures the camera can remain stagnant throughout the broadcast. 

If it isn’t clear by now why Jeopardy! is so successful, these secrets make it clear why the show works. The producers have thought of everything and perfected their process.