Why Some ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestants Stop Watching the Show After Winning

Jeopardy! is all about trivia. The classic game show and its longtime host, Alex Trebek, have been delivering categories and clues to contestants, and those playing along at home, for decades. Jeopardy! is without question part of pop culture. As such it means a lot to land a coveted spot on the program or better yet, walk away a winner.

Alex Trebek attends the 'Jeopardy!' Season 28 premiere
Alex Trebek attends the ‘Jeopardy!’ Season 28 premiere | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

However, those who are successful on Jeopardy! sometimes find it difficult to go home and watch the show. Keep reading to find out why contestants take a break from watching Jeopardy! after winning. 

‘Jeopardy!’ contestants have to pass a practice exam …

But first, how does the road to Jeopardy! start? To even be considered for the show, applicants have to take a practice test. So, every contestant viewers see on Jeopardy! has taken and passed, according to the official Jeopardy! website, a practice exam consisting of 50 categories and 50 clues. To simulate the actual game, the test lasts about 13 minutes with only 15 seconds to respond.  

… And an in-person audition 

That’s not all. The application process continues with an in-person audition. They have to get themselves to California where Jeopardy! is taped to meet with the show’s contestant team. During a two-hour audition, contestants have to take another exam, participate in a mock game of the show, and share interesting facts about themselves. Making it through the in-person audition isn’t the final hurdle. 

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If a contestant makes it through the audition, they are entered in a random drawing of prospective contestants. For 18 months their name remains in the running. If they are selected, only then do they end up on the famous Jeopardy! set standing at a podium with Trebek dishing out clues

Watching the show ‘causes some fight-or-flight adrenaline spike’

Contestants, be warned: going on Jeopardy! may put you off the show forever. Understandably, preparing to be on the show can be an intense process. And by the time players are on the program, they’ve studied for hours and hours. And for some, when they say goodbye to the Jeopardy! set and head home, watching the show brings back the high stakes, stressful environment they experienced as a contestant. 

Arthur Chu on 'Good Morning America' in 2014
Arthur Chu | Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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For Jeopardy! winner Arthur Chu, that’s exactly what happened to him after appearing on the show and winning 11 games, according to Mental Floss.

“I find that I have a hard time sitting on my couch and lazily shouting out answers at Trebek, like I used to,” he said. “Everything about the show—the music, the graphics, the sound effects—causes some fight-or-flight adrenaline spike in my blood and I become hyper-aware of every detail of the show. Maybe I have post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Love Jeopardy! and want to be a contestant on the show? Consider Chu’s comments before taking the plunge. Because however badly you may want to be tested on trivia by Trebek, it may not be as strong as your love for watching the show.

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