Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies has revealed some exciting new details about the recently announced Masters tournament, in addition to a new invitational tournament.
Speaking on Monday’s (January 16) edition of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, Davies shared that the Masters’ tournament will be aired primetime on ABC with 10 one-hour shows hosted by Ken Jennings. And he has high hopes he new series will become an annual Super Bowl-style event.
Last week, Jeopardy! revealed the six invited competitors for the first Masters tournament, which included last year’s Tournament of Champions winner Amy Schneider, along with fellow fan-favorites Matt Amodio, Sam Buttrey, Andrew He, James Holzhauer, and Mattea Roach.
According to producer Sarah Foss, each hour-long episode will feature “two half-hour games.” Adding to that, Davies said, “We’ve experimented with a few different formats since I’ve joined Jeopardy… but we felt that the true test of our Jeopardy Masters would be to repeatedly face each other.”
“ABC wanted 10 episodes, and they wanted 10 hours, and we figured out that over 10 hours, if we did two half-hour games back-to-back, which would give us 20 games, 20 games would be the perfect combination to have all six of our top players play each other in every combination,” Davies continued.
He went on to say it would be a “league-based system,” with each player appearing in every episode and every one of them playing 10 games. There will be a league table keeping track of the wins, which Davies thinks “will truly unearth who is the Jeopardy master.”
The tournament will not be about who wins the most money; instead, it will be a “points-based system” focused on wins and losses. “This is really about wins,” Davies emphasized. “And it’s about winning games. And we want to reward winning. There will be some bonus for finishing second, but it’s really about winning games.”
“This is our Super Bowl,” Davies added before revealing that the top three will return the following year, while the other three will have to qualify to get back on the show.
He explained that “qualifying for Jeopardy! Masters will be a combination of the TOC winner from next year and a new tournament, which we have not scheduled yet, but we are committing to verbally today, which is the JIT, the Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament, where we will be inviting back past champions, past great players, players from previous seasons.
“The winner of which, and perhaps the second place finisher, will themselves qualify for Masters,” he stated before revealing that the 4th, 5th, and 6th placers from the previous Masters tournament will also be entered into the Invitational.
That spells good news for the likes of 2021 Tournament of Champions winner Sam Kavanaugh, who recently expressed his disappointment at being omitted from the upcoming Masters’ series.
Davies, who is from England and co-hosts the soccer show Men in Blazers, compared the Masters tournament to the English Premier League.
“We are building a Jeopardy pyramid where new players come onto the daily show, they can qualify through second chance or through winning multiple games as champion; Or perhaps something in between… we are looking at expansion of the post-season. That will give you a route into Masters, but there will also be the invitational tournament.”
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