Following vows by several recent champions to boycott the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions if it takes place amid the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, the show’s producers say they “never had any intention” of holding the annual contest “until the strike is resolved.
Furthermore, the show’s spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday, none of winners from the most recent season have even been contacted about participating.
The statement emphasized that the show has “a long history with and tremendous respect for the WGA and our writers,” and that “we would never air game material not created by WGA writers.” The statement also emphasized that it operates in compliance with SAG-AFTRA.
Instead, the statement says, the show will go into “a holding pattern,” postponing the Season 39 Tournament of Champions and instead producing new original episodes using material that was written before WGA went on strike. More details will be announced in August.
“Celebrity Jeopardy” will also return “this fall,” with material written before the strike.
“Everyone at Jeopardy! hopes that the guilds and the AMPTP can reach a fair resolution quickly,” the statement also said.
Earlier Tuesday, recent “Jeopardy!” champion Ray Lalonde announced on social media that he wouldn’t participate in a Tournament of Champions while the strike continues. He was soon joined several other champs, including Hannah Wilson, Cris Pannullo, Ben Chan, Troy Meyer, Ben Goldstein, Suresh Krishna and Luigi de Guzman.
Read the full statement from “Jeopardy!” below:
Jeopardy! never had any intention of producing a Tournament of Champions for Season 39 until the strike is resolved. Further, no contestants from Season 39 have been contacted regarding their availability for any postseason tournaments, including the ToC. The Jeopardy! postseason represents the pinnacle of our competition, and it should feature our strongest players playing our toughest original material.
Jeopardy! has a long history with and tremendous respect for the WGA and our writers. We have always been careful to honor our WGA agreements and we would never air game material not created by WGA writers. However, just as we did, led by Alex Trebek, during the 2007-2008 strike, we will deliver first-run episodes again this fall to more than 200 affiliate stations nationwide.
Our current plan is to go into a holding pattern of sorts, pushing back the S39 postseason to first produce original episodes featuring the best of our WGA written material. Next month, we will share more news about exciting plans and enhancements to the contestant experience for this upcoming season and beyond.
Everyone at Jeopardy! hopes that the guilds and the AMPTP can reach a fair resolution quickly.
Celebrity Jeopardy! will return on ABC this fall with original material written by WGA writers before the strike.
Jeopardy! and Celebrity Jeopardy! are covered under the SAG-AFTRA Network Code, which remains in effect.
For all of TheWrap’s Hollywood strike coverage, click here.
Loree Seitz contributed to this report.