Hosting duties in season 39 of Jeopardy! will again be split between Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik, with the GOAT (who could return as a contestant) handling the first stretch of episodes from September until December. The Big Bang Theory star will take over in January, and when she does, fans of the game show may notice a small difference.
Decider reports that Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies told Inside Jeopardy! podcast listeners that “the first change he made was the location in which host Mayim Bialik looks when thanking Johnny Gilbert. Initially, she looked out into the audience, thanked Gilbert, then turned to the camera and delivered the open.” She’ll now look into the camera while thanking the 94-year-old Jeopardy! announcer. Davies explained why:
“I think on a show about fact, it wasn’t right that we were looking over to an imaginary Johnny. Instead, you know, we thank him, because we should thank him in the beginning of the episode, but we thank him right down the camera, right down the lens because we know he watches every single episode.”
Gilbert records the introductions at a studio in his home, so all they have to do is “call him up and he reads all of the opens for the show, correctly and beautifully announcing each of the contestants’ names, and that is actually what goes into the show,” associate director Sarah Whitcomb-Foss revealed.
The new direction for the thank yous isn’t much of a change, but it’s one that Jeopardy! viewers would have noticed if it hadn’t been acknowledged.