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"Jeopardy!" producer breaks silence on "terrible error" over final scores

A jeopardy! executive producer has broken his silence on a “horrible error” made during an episode aired last week, in which the final score was shown before the game had even started.

Mayim Bialik recently returned to Jeopardy! to host the High School Reunion Tournament, which concluded last week and saw first-year Brown University student Justin Bolsen crowned the victor.

The final episodes of the tournament were examined during this week’s episode of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, where Michael Davies, the producer, addressed the mistake made when the first installation of the two-part final was aired last Wednesday.

As Bialik introduced the episode, it could be seen in the background that contestant Jackson Jones had won the first episode of the final with $24,000 in earnings, followed by Bolsen with $13,570 and Maya Wright with $3,370.

Addressing the faux pas, which some viewers picked up onDavies said on the podcast: “Right off the bat, apologies to the entire audience. We totally blew it at the top of the show. We made a horrible error where we revealed the final scores at the end in the opening cutaway shot during Mayim’s monologue.”

He went on: “It’s a series of errors. It’s somehow remarkable that they all happened, starting with the decision to pick up the monologue, which was probably the right decision. Although Sarah [Whitcomb Foss, a producer] and I can remember exactly what was wrong with the monologue, why we picked it up, probably.

“But we do occasionally pick up monologues for some reason. Sometimes there’s a fact that’s incorrect. Sometimes there’s just a performance issue. So we pick it up at the end of the show,” he said.

Davies went on to explain that the protocol in such situations where the scoreboards are cleared to their original amount, was not followed.

“Of course, it should be standard procedure—and it is supposed to be standard procedure—that we take the scores in the podiums back to the original level, but it didn’t happen. This was then not caught in [postproduction]and it was not caught in the final [quality control]. There are so many elements that should check this,” he said.

As a result of the error, changes have been made to the production procedure to ensure that spoilers of this kind never slip through the cracks again.

“We have now put in place a new series of protocols that will prevent this from happening again,” Davies said. “I’m sure in all of your jobs, I’m sure if you’re honest with yourselves, there are mistakes made in every single one of your businesses.”

He continued: “My whole thing is to always focus not on what happened and why did this happen in order to punish people. It’s what happened and why did it happen, so that we can build a protocol to make sure it never happens again. And so we live and learn and we apologize for anybody whose experience of this program was ruined.

“We take these mistakes to heart so hard. The self-flagellation that happens across the senior management team and the post team and everybody involved, that’s a good thing about Jeopardy! We take mistakes really, really seriously.”

Davies went on: “What we’re trying to do is be more transparent when we make them and to speak in places on our social media and on this podcast about how we made the mistake and to assure you that we are doing everything to stop making them in the future.”

Davies concluded his apology by explaining that the expansion of the Jeopardy! franchise, which now includes several tournaments and specials, likely led to the error.

“There is some pressure on this production,” he said. “We’re making more episodes, people are working more hours, and so that does lead to mistakes. But still no excuse for this. This was too basic. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Following the conclusion of the tournament, call me cat star Bialik was replaced by regular show host Ken Jennings. Bialik hosts the specials and tournaments, while all time Jeopardy! champ Jennings presents the prime time show.

A jeopardy! executive producer has broken his silence on a “horrible error” made during an episode aired last week, in which the final score was shown before the game had even started.

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