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The popular television game show Jeopardy! reversed the "question and answer" format typical of most trivia shows, to the delight of fans who have followed the show either on NBC or in syndication since its debut in March of 1964. The unique format of Jeopardy! was established in response to the quiz show scandals of 1958, giving contestants the answers up front and requiring them to provide the correct questions. Three contestants vied for cash by supplying correct questions to answers revealed on a board of thirty squares, containing five answers in each of six categories.

The show, originally hosted by Art Fleming, consisted of three rounds: Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy, and Final Jeopardy. When the show returned to television in 1984, after a five-year hiatus, its host was veteran game-show host Alex Trebek. With his erudite manner and textbook pronunciation of foreign words and phrases, Trebek became the object of both admiration and scorn, gaining a wide viewership of fans riveted by the show and critics eager to see his rare blunders. By the end of the 1980s Jeopardy! had become one of the most popular first-run syndicated series, packaged by King World Entertainment with the perennial primetime favorite Wheel of Fortune. Jeopardy! became a lucrative merchandising vehicle as well, spawning home versions of the game and computerized scoring devices that viewers could use to play along at home.

—Tilney Marsh

Further Reading:

McNeil, Alex. Total Television: A Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present. 4th ed. New York, Penguin, 1996.

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Jeopardy ★★½ 1953

Sunlit noirish thriller with an intriguingly crazed performance by Meeker and Stanwyck doing some vamping. While vacationing on a remote beach spot in Baja, Mexico, Doug Stilwin (Sullivan) gets trapped by a piling on a rotted pier with the tide coming in. Leaving their young son (Aaker) to comfort dad, mom Barb (Stanwyck) takes off in the car to get help. She's thankful to run into an American along the deserted road, except Lawson (Meeker) turns out to be a dangerous escaped con who takes her hostage and steals the car. Barb eventually persuades Lawson that she'll run away with him if only he'll rescue her hubby first. Ya know, sometimes crime does pay. 69m/ C DVD . Barbara Stanwyck, Ralph Meeker, Barry Sullivan, Lee Aaker; D: John Sturges; W: Mel Dinelli; C: Victor Milner; M: Dimitri Tomkin.

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jeopardy †chess problem; †(even) chance; risk of injury or death. XIV. — OF. iu (ieu, giu) parti ‘divided play’, even game, (hence) uncertain chance, uncertainty ( = medL. jocus partītus, i.e. jocus game, JOKE, partītus, pp. of partīrī divide, PART).
Hence jeopardize XVII.

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jeop·ard·y / ˈjepərdē/ • n. danger of loss, harm, or failure: Michael's job was not in jeopardy. ∎  Law danger arising from being on trial for a criminal offense.

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Danger; hazard; peril. In a criminal action, the danger of conviction and punishment confronting the defendant.

A person is in jeopardy when he or she is placed on trial before a court of competent jurisdiction upon an indictment or information sufficient in form and substance to uphold a conviction, and a jury is charged or sworn. Jeopardy attaches after a valid indictment is found and a petit jury is sworn to try the case.


Double Jeopardy.