Jeopardy! Stats, or, What I do for Fun???

This is a page devoted to my curiosity of the TV show "Jeopardy!" What I am attempting to do is to quantify how the program breaks down with its categories, winners, and other similar demographics. It is in no way truly scientific or statistically accurate, but provides an interesting assessment of a variety of areas of competition. Beyond that, you can draw your own conclusions. I've drawn my own over the years of being a dedicated observer, but am only now starting to collect data. Occasionally I miss a show, but most I videotape to give myself the best shot at accuracy. Missing just one show, throws a kink in the statistical gathering, but doesn't greatly affect the overall conclusions that can be drawn. It's a fun exercise, but one that's very frustrating when the VCR doesn't operate how I program it, or it's on the wrong channel, etc.  Also, I got ill a while back & stopped recording data for a while, and wanted the analysis by my standards to be consistent.  It's just difficult to watch every show that's run & record this amt. of info.  So, I've kind of quit doing it.  If I can start up again & acquire stats consistently, I will add to these totals as if I'd been doing it all along as I doubt it will make that much difference in the whole run of the show.  And now, since 2002, while you can win more money, the basic tenet of the statistical breakdowns is I believe, unaltered.

This page is not connected to or coordinated with the real Jeopardy! TV show operation.

During 2012, I watched every "regular" show (no kids, or champions, or teachers, or celebrities, or any other tournament shows) & recorded a singular statistic - Where are the Daily Doubles in the Jeopardy! & Double Jeopardy! rounds, found most often.  Also note, that not every program actually got to every Daily Double clue as a section of the show might time out before a contestant hit that clue spot.
If the amount column on the left are letters A,B,C,D & E, & the categories are across the top & numbered 1,2,3,4,5 & 6.   I've recorded here the percentages those columns had such clues, by the two types of rounds.  Some contestants like to fish for the bonus boxes, while most just start at the lowest & work their way up.  This stat might provide a clue as to where the most likely choice for a bonus might appear.

Jeopardy! Round
            1            2            3            4            5            6
A         0            0            0            0            0            0
B         2            .5           .5           .5           2            .5
C         4            7            2            5            3            4
D         6            4            5            8            4            6
E         10           6           5            5            4            8

Double Jeopardy! Round
            1            2            3            4            5            6
A         0            0            0            0            0            0
B         2            2            1            1            2            2
C         8            2            6            4            5            3
D         4            5            10          5            9            5
E         4            2            5            4            3            3

Virtually never catch the graphics folks on the show making a mistake, but on the show of 3/15/12, one  of the categories had the word "Their" misspelled as "Thier."  What happened to the proofreaders?  Otherwise, they get an "A" in spelling.

(FYI: 9/21/06 - Clue about Jackson Hole, WY was incorrectly given. The town is Jackson, WY, not Jackson Hole, WY. Odd they blew that one with a clue crew person doing a video from the street next to the Jackson Town Square. I know, I live here.)  I can't detect they've ever blown an answer ever before or since.....until this one below...
On 5/29/09 - This clue was given under a category titled "Awards and Honors"  "At the Normandy American cemetery, the engraving above the chapel door is a replica of this award for valor.  Three recipients are buried at the cemetery."  The answer given was, "What is the Congressional Medal of Honor."  There is no "Congressional Medal of Honor?"  This is a common misnomer.  The correct answer should have been, "What is the Medal of Honor?"

I have only collected data from standard weekday shows, ergo I do not collect data from the variety of other contests between children, celebrities, weekend contestants, foreign contestants, or the Tournament of Champions.

I started collecting data with no champion playing, on Wed., 4.4.01.  I have so far studied 78 shows with data now ending on the play date of 10.13.01.

> Denotes my own personal deductions or observations from each category listed.

Totals of Contestants.  In this category, I do not list the sex/ethnic information a 2nd time for a returning champion.
No. of Men:        103        Percentage of total:      59
No. of Women:     71                                           41

No. of Whites:    161                                           91.5
No. of Blacks:        9                                             5
No. of Hispanics:   1                                             .5
No. of Other:         5                                             3
Total Different Men/Women Players:  176
Other would be people of obvious Oriental, Indian, or other descent.

We've all seen shows where one contestant had a sub-zero score & was eliminated from Final Jeopardy! Has anyone ever seen a show where the winner won by default when both the other contestants had a sub-zero score & didn't participate in Final Jeopardy! Could it happen? Has it happened?

Recurring +Categories -  + denotes Dbl. Jeopardy! Questions, and * denotes Final Jeopardy! Questions, the final number represents the number of times a question of this category has occured, or something closely related.  The "Other" category includes all other questions that can't be pigeonholed accordingly.  (The spacing gaps are only because I've added relevant categories after I set up this page & the html doesn't easily conform to making changes.)

Academia:                                  10, 2+, 2*
Airport Codes:                            2
Art(ists):                                     12, 1+, 1*
Anatomy:                                   4, 1+, 1*
Animals/Fish/Birds                      29, 3+, 1*
Antiques:                                    2, 1+
Architect(s)(ure)                          2, 1+, 1*
Astronomy:                                1, 1*
Authors:                                     15, 5+, 6*
    Nobel/Pulitzer                         2, 1*
    Books                                     1
    Oscar/Emmy/Tony                  2
    Sports                                    1
    Other                                     1
Before & After or Then & Now:   5
Bible:                                         4, 1+
Biology:                                      0

Business/Commerce:                  10, 1+, 1*
Cabinet Offices(Officers):            0
Capitals, U.S.:                             2
Capitals, World:                          4, 1+
Cities, U.S.:                                 20, 6+
Cities, World:                              5, 1+, 1*
Celebrities:                                  18, 3+, 1*
Clothing:                                     0
Colors:                                        4, 1+
Constitution/Bill of Rights:           0
Countries:                                   29, 12+, 1*
Crime                                          1, 1+
Crosswords, etc.                         6, 2+
Cyber/Computer:                        0
Dance:                                        4
Definitions                                  2
Economics/Money:                      2, 1+, 1*
Education:                                  1
Explorers(ation):                         1
Expressions                                1+, 1
Film (Movies):                             45, 12+, 4*
Firsts:                                         3
Flora:                                          4, 1+
Food/Drink:                                 28, 8+, 1*
Geography, U.S.:                        1*
Geography, World:                     15, 3+, 2*
Geology:                                     1, 1+
Geometry/Trig/Other:                 3, 1+
Government, U.S.:                      3

History, U.S.:                             19, 4+, 1*
History, World:                          7, 3+
Holidays/Celebrations:               1
Home/Construction:                   1, 1+
Humor/Comedy:                         1
Hurricanes, Volcanoes, etc.       1*
Internet:                                     1

Invent(ors)(ions)                         2
Islands:                                      2
Jeopardy! Place:                          3
Kids:                                           2
Law:                                            2
Language(English):                     5
                (Foreign):                    4, 1+
Literature/Books:                        27, 7+, 2*
Literature, Children's:                 1, 1*
Magazines/Publications:             2, 1+
Mathematics:                             5, 2+
Medicine/Health:                        5, 1+, 2*
Military:                                     3, 1*
Months:                                     2, 2+
Museums                                   2
Music, Classical:                        4, 1+, 1*
    Composers                            2, 1+
    Folk:                                       0
    Instruments:                          2
    Opera                                    2, 1+, 1*
    Other:                                    8, 2+, 1*
    Pop:                                       13, 1*
Musicians:                                  3
Mythology:                                 2, 1+
Names:                                       23, 5+
Nature:                                       0
News(papers):                             6
Olympics:                                    4, 1+
Organizations/Clubs:                  1, 4*
People (Generic):                         49, 7+, 9*
Physics:                                      3, 1*
Poetry/Poets:                              5, 1+, 2*
Politics:                                       4, 1+
Potpourri:                                   11, 1+
Presidents:                                 15, 4+, 1*
Psychology/Psychiatry:                2
Quotations:                                 3, 1+, 1*
Quotes, words in:                        81, 15+
Radio:                                          0
Recreation:                                  1
Religion, Christian:                      6, 3+, 1*
   Other:(Islam, Buddhism, etc):   0
Rhymes:                                      3
Royalty:                                       4, 1+, 2*
Science (Generic):                        15, 6+, 1*
    Scientists:                                1, 1+
Sequential Order:                        2
Shakespeare:                              4, 1+
Space(Travel/Astronauts):           2
Sports:                                        24, 6+, 2*
    Drama                                     4, 1+
    Musical                                    2
    Other Theatre                          1
States:                                         24, 5+
Structures:                                  4, 2+
Supernatural:                              0
Technology:                                1
Three Choices:                            3
Tools/Instruments/Devices:         1
TV                                              18, 5+
Transportation:                          1, 2*
    Land:                                      3, 1+
    Sea:                                         1*
    Air:                                          3
Travel/Tourism:                            5, 1+
Vice-Presidents:                            0
War/Warriors:                              10, 2+,1*
Wordplay(anagrams, clever
    phrases, etc.)                          35, 4+
World Leaders:                             2
Wts/Measures/Temps, etc:            1
Years/Events:                               4, 1+
Other/Misc.                                  Numerous, 10+

Know your literature.  Authors and book titles and stories, have always been a staple of the show. Questions about Shakespeare or his plays have always been integral to the game.  Types of wordplay are also very popular such as anagrams, scrambled words, etc.  They recurringly use the "Before and After" concept & the clues are pretty lame for the responses expected.  One can't predict the variety, but words in quotes has become a very popular category in recent years.  Any category that I couldn't put identities of people in, fell into the generic category & is the most frequent of all.  Well rounded knowledge of people is a necessity.  However, film/movie/TV stars are especially popular.  Double Jeopardy! and Final Jeopardy! categories will take much longer to collect & assess before making any particular conclusions.

One thing I've noticed is that despite their obvious intellect, no one seems to play the game with certain strategic aspects in mind.  While trying to confuse opponents by jumping around from category to category, most just move in line & lose any possible advantage.  Others when short of funds in Dbl. Jeopardy!, don't try to jump around to hit the boxes for a Dbl. Jeopardy! question.  After all, contestants come to the game with nothing ventured, why not play for the win from the gitgo?  Most people also play with a certain gusto, calling out the next box w/rapidity after the last response is given.  However, no doubt each person has categories that they know they are deficient in.  Why not call their categories more slowly?  This would put them in categories they believe they can do better in, while hopefully leaving the ones they might not do well in for last, & possibly causing the round to end early.  I've never seen anyone who appears to be slowing the game for their own benefit.  However, that's not to say that the director can't edit the show to get in all the boxes possible in any given time frame.  Ask for the next category/answer slowly, as if contemplating the consequence.  Ring in quickly if you know the answer, but take your time actually formulating the question.  It should pay off.

I also find it odd that contestants don't "give up" when applicable.  If two contestants are battling it out w/a low score, and the third is running away with the game, one of the other two has to give up even trying to answer questions & defer to their other lesser opponent, hoping that that individual will draw within range of the higher player so that all three will have a chance to win in Final Jeopardy!.  Instead, I've never seen a contestant do this.  Rather, the two lower players will continue to fight it out and thereby assure the third player a runaway win.  This even happened recently in a Tournament of Champions where you'd think they'd have a much better sense of "the game."  I suppose this must be an unspoken aspect of the game as the players can't collude in advance of this possible situation, but they have to know they're cutting their own throats if they continue to play in a hopeless pursuit, if one would have a chance of keeping them all in the game by playing unopposed.  It's as though people play for third place.

And, are things changing for the better?  I long have been disappointed since they stopped the video double Jeopardy! questions.  They continued to call them that, but instead of a real video clue, they just started giving clues to a celebrity or one of those goofy Clue-Crew youngsters, that would recite them on screen.  Sham videos.  Jeopardy! recently celebrated its 4,000th show with a retrospective that was entertaining, but I wish could have been more informative.  Consequently, it also has changed a few ways the gamers are awarded.  No more trips or prizes which were substantive incentive to play for 2nd place.  Instead, the runners-up get either $2,000 or $1,000.  How boring.  And, 5 times winners don't get the choice of a new car, usually from the Chevrolet line of Suburbans or Corvettes, rather a Jaguar.  Better or not?  AND, is the current set a bunch of crap or what?  It looks cheesy, 50s, & doesn't seem to be constructed very well as the camera pans past the category windows, or those podiums the players play behind.  But now, you can win as many times as you're good enough.  Intriguing I suppose, but at what loss to the tradition of the program?  Should old winners be invited back to see how long they could continue their run so everyone will be on even footing & records for winners can be better kept?

Now, let's do some real math.  What would be a great showing and what would be a perfect game?  Win $100k in one game.  Peanuts.  $200k., not even close.  Consider this two ways.  What if you answered EVERY clue & doubled down on every Double Jeopardy! clue.  Where, would you be?  Do the math & you might be surprised that you still come up short.  Go ahead, do the math, then click on this link for the real result.

I'll save one little tiny bit of my panache for the game for whatever day I might remotely have a chance to get on the show.  It's something that I'm amazed no one has thought of to this day & involves literally every answer/question played on the show.  Good luck to anyone reading this.  If you're successful in using any of these tips, please let me know.

Position of the Leader at end of:
Double Jeopardy! Round:
1.          45
2.          22
3.          15

Final Jeopardy! Question:
1.        50
2.        13
3.        21

    Again the caveat that I haven't seen EVERY show since I started collecting data, so some information or totals numbers are missing.  That shouldn't change the overall result of the numbers over time.  If there are differences in the numbers at the end of Dbl. Jeopardy! & those of Final Jeopardy!, it may be because of a person dropped out due to below 0 score.
    This category apparently states that once you win, the first position is either the hottest button, or the smartest or quickest people.

Champions Demographic:
Number of White Male Champions:                     44
Number of White Female Champions:                  12
Number of Black Male Champions:
Number of Black Female Champions:                    1
Number of Hispanic Male Champions:
Number of Hispanic Female Champions:
Number of Other Male Champions:                       7
Number of Other Female Champions:

Note: This category does not address whether few or many such ethnic individuals even tried out for the show, only the production company would have those stats.  A given champion may have won on more than one occasion, but this category only lists those individuals once.  Also, this is based on my subjective determination by visual, verbal, or name identification by race, so, it may not be entirely accurate.

Before Final Jeopardy!:
# Times the Champion wins:                47
# Times the Top scorer wins:               53
# Times the Middle scorer wins:           21
# Times the Low scorer wins:                 3

    It's good to be the champion.

Ethnic breakdown for
Persons eliminated before Final Jeopardy!:               Runaway Winners:               5 Time Winners:
WM:        2                                                                        7                                                7
WF:         1
BM:                                                                                   1
OM:                                                                                   1                                                1

Position of persons eliminated before Final Jeopardy!
1.    0    2.    2    3.    2

Who gets the Final Jeopardy! answer correct?
I checked 49 shows to pull up this statistic, between 11/22/06 and 2/2/07.  Why 49?  Well, I started on a Monday with the standard contestant show & was going to go for 50, but, I missed one show in about the 5th week of tracking.  Then, when the 50th consecutive show came up (although I'd missed one) on 2/4/07, it was a college contest, so I just decided to stop at 49.  Here's the breakdown...

Out of 49 shows, which position got the most correct?
1.  Got 24 correct, or 49%
2.  Got 28 correct, or 57 1/2%
3.  Got 27 correct, or 55%

Now, which money leader got the most correct in the same time-frame?
1.  Got 26 correct, or 53%
2.  Got 26 correct, or 53%
3.  Got 27 correct, or 55%

While the results are fairly even as the folks on the show are generically, pretty smart, it appears that when Final Jeopardy! comes around, you're best off in the No. 2 position, with the least amount of total money, to become the champion for that day.  Curious.  Bon chance...

from the airdate of 3.11.03.  While we know that women and minorities just don't win 5 in a row very often, a woman named Max had won 4 in a row by the 3.10 airdate.  On her 5th attempt, and she was good, she went minus & didn't even get to compete in Final Jeopardy!.  Now that's poor & I doubt if it's ever happened before.

Have you noticed???
Clues for Jack London, and Kurt Vonnegut, show up a lot?

And, a couple of things they always get WRONG?  The Korean Conflict & the Vietnam Conflict, are always credited as "wars" on Jeopardy!  Also, it's never the Medal of Honor, it's the "Congressional" Medal of Honor - WRONG.  I tried writing them about these recurring mistakes in their clues or answers, but their form letter requires a bunch of unnecessary crap to fill out to be able to send it in & even when I have, the submit button never works, making me wonder if they're really interested in viewer feedback at all.  Why do they need (require) my mailing address, to communicate with them anyway?  Some dufus put the feedback form together, & it's useless anyway.

Latest Page Update: 2.19.12                                    There's more below here...

OK, let's add it up.  If, you get every answer with the correct question in the Jeopardy! round leaving the double Jeopardy! clue to the last in the best position, a $200. clue at the top of one category, you'd have $17,800.  Then, you double down & respond correctly & you finish the Jeopardy! round with $35,600.  Let's presume both the Double Jeopardy! clues are in the $400. position in the last two columns & you get every question up to that point, you'd have $35,200. for the DJR plus $35,600. from the JR, totalling $70,800. when you hit the first DJ clue.  Double down & get it right & your total is now $141,600.  Then open the second DJ clue, double down, get it right & you're sitting on $283.200.  Of course, you have no competition in the Final Jeopardy! round, BUT, you bet it all on the FJ clue, get it right, win $566,400. and walk away from the 5+ game allowance now in effect & become the perfect champion, never to play again.  Could anyone do it, of course not.  You wouldn't always be quick enough, or smart enough, but that's the ideal.

But what if Jeopardy! did it all the way?

Consider this.  Another item now is my own bit of pique in that when someone is given a DJ clue.  Seems to me it would be more of a game if the contestant were to wager say $2500.  If he missed, he/she loses $2500., but if he/she wins, it's called Double Jeopardy!, let them win $5000.  OR, they win $2500. or stand to lose $5000.  The second option would unhinge most players so it probably isn't feasible, but it would nonetheless be a quick math test for the players & wratchet up the viewer's anticipation.  Of course under the first option which is the way it ought to be if Sony can afford it, the totals for a perfect game go up tremendously.

Jeopardy! round: Get them all right & total up $17,600.  Double down on the DJ clue & you're sitting on $52,800.
Get the all on the DJR & have $35,600. plus $52,800. & you've built to $88,400.  Double down under my rules with the first DJ clue & you build to $265,200.  Now we're talkin'.  Second DJ question comes up, you double down & get it right, & you're up to $795,600.  Final Jeopardy!, no competition, but you're the man & you wager $795,600. which isn't a real DJ situation, get it right & the ultimate walk-away would be $1,591,200.  You're a God.  You're sought after by every reality & talk show.  Your fee on the lecture circuit is phenomenal.  You go down in history.  One game, & you never play again.  The perfect game show player.

What are you waiting for?  Let's get Jeopardy! to change the betting rules & let's go for it.  Right.

Lastly, I got into the 8/9/05 auditions held by the Clue Crew here in Jackson, Wyoming.  FYI:  They say you get 5 min. upon entering to answer a 10 question quiz, but, they're pretty lax on the 10 min.  At any rate, I and several friends passed the entry level test.  Then, we got to play a 5 question, onscreen, clue read by a Clue Crew person, push the button, give question test as if you were on the show.  3 people, & out of 5 questions, I got one, and the other two got two each.  Of courese, my button wasn't working properly, but we were all 5 for 5.  They were giving out many souvenirs.  Hats, water bottles, key chains, pens (which had buttons on top that matched the size of the show's signalling button), t-shirts, etc.  Some even won a Jeopardy! game.  That afternoon, the first round winners, about 100 out of 600 auditioning, came back for the real test.  50 questions on paper, with Alex giving the clues & only 8 sec. each to write down the answers.  Only 9 (and not me), got enough answers to qualify.  However, we were told as they didn't give out the qualifying number of correct answers to advance, we could tell our friends that the rest of us only missed getting invited by one.  Now, this only put these people on the list to get called & didn't provide that they would be called, to be on the show.  Even then, they will have to provide their own expenses to get to CA & even then, they still might not get on the show.  Out of our group, I'm sure a couple of them will get invited.  It was fun to at least go through the experience and visit with the people operating the auditions.  The rest of us can audition again after one year.  I can hardly wait.  All the questions were of the standard type, difficulty, you'd expect to see on the show.  The Clue Crew also filmed several clues while in the Jackson Hole area, & while they wouldn't say of course what they were, you can bet they'd be about western history or the modern affluent west or about Vice-Pres. Cheney or about the National Park System.  At any rate, below is a picture or two from the auditions, one with CC host Jimmy & one of their new CC members, plus an article that ran in the next day local paper with quotes from yours truly about the goings-on & this webpage & friend Nik who was one of the ones that passed the final test.

From the JH News and Guide

Nik Omarzu, made the cut, but never invited to be on the show.

And that tidbit above I referred to, as I doubt I'll get another shot at being on the show?

Well, if you use it, you have to give me credit.  You know how all the questions the contestants give start with "What is" or "Who is" or a couple of other similar derivations?  And, you notice how they often don't really match the answer & seem stiff or inappropriate.  Well, during our little 5 question quiz, I used this response which the new young lady seemed taken aback at, although Jimmy allowed that it was in the form of a question.  If you use the response, "IS IT.....?", then your response will ALWAYS be appropriate and correct per the answer.  I'd really wanted to be the first to go for that & surprise the show, other contestants & TV audience, but now, someone else will have the shot.  Remember, I posted this on 8/10/05 & you heard/saw it first here.  At least give me the credit.  Thanks, and remember, let's be careful out there.
Walt Farmer, your friendly Jeopardy! consultant.

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