Published 1:11 PM EDT Sep 3, 2020
Better start brushing up on your “Potpourri” – “Jeopardy!” returns for its 37th season on Sept. 14.
Amid the pandemic, the 37th season of the syndicated quiz show are already being taped with Alex Trebek, who has been battling pancreatic cancer, but without a studio audience.
“On a personal level, I’m excited because it gets me out of the house,” Trebek said in an announcement of the new season from Sony Pictures Television. “It gives me something to do on a regular basis, and I was missing that.”
Champion Ken Jennings, who in January triumphed over James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in “The Greatest of All Time” tournament, has been recruited as a consulting producer this season. He’ll “present his own special video categories, develop projects, assist with contestant outreach, and serve as a general ambassador for the show, Sony said. (His first video category airs Sept. 15.)
Fans of the show will notice changes to the set: More space between the contestants and a safe distance between them and Trebek. Behind the scenes, the casting has become a virtual process, relying on an online test and Zoom. And a new executive producer, Mike Richards, replaces longtime chief Harry Friedman, who retired in May.
In a video shared to YouTube in July, Trebek gave fans an update about his health. “I’m doing well,” the iconic TV host, 80, said. “I’ve been continuing my treatment and it is paying off. Though it does fatigue me a great deal, my numbers are good. I’m feeling great.”
Alex Trebek opens up about cancer in memoir: ‘Death is part of life,’ but he’s optimistic
Alex Trebek is ‘doing well,’ says his cancer treatments are ‘paying off’
Following his victory, Jennings told USA TODAY he didn’t think he would win the tournament.
“I actually told ‘Jeopardy!’ I did not want to do it. They were very persistent. They did not want the empty podium,” Jennings said. “I was 15 years on (from a 74-game win streak on the syndicated quiz show in 2004); I can kind of feel that I’m not longer as sharp as I used to be. And clearly James is. I’ve seen him plenty on TV looking younger and better at ‘Jeopardy!’ than me” during his 32-game streak last year.
The 46-year-old Washington state native and resident went into the tourney “deciding, ‘You know what? I’m going to have a good time. This is almost certainly my last time playing ‘Jeopardy!’ Let’s let me just enjoy every minute of it.’ And I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I planned.”
Contributing: Bill Keveney and Rasha Ali
‘Jeopardy!: The Greatest of All Time’ crowns Ken Jennings winner
‘Jeopardy!’ GOAT Ken Jennings interview: ‘I ended up enjoying it more than I planned’