Jeopardy!Â executive producer Michael Davies just revealed the first change he made when he stepped into the position for the hit game show â and disclosed a surprising fact.
During theÂ Inside Jeopardy!Â podcast, Davies told 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. Now, Bialik thanks him directly to the camera.
âI think on a show about fact, it wasnât right that we were looking over to an imaginary Johnny,” Davies explained. “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.”
As for Gilbert not being there, Davies also revealed the 94-year-old records all of his opens from a studio in his home. During tapings, associate director Sarah Whitcomb-Foss will fill in for Gilbert before meeting up with him to record his voice.
“Heâs got his studio day in his home, itâs all set up, we 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,” Whitcomb-Foss said.
She added that she “loved” the change to where Bialik looks, telling Davies, “Obviously we want to definitely acknowledge Johnny, but you felt it wasnât authentic, that we were pretending he was in the audience.”
Jeopardy!Â made a lot of changes over the last two years, with the show recently announcing Ken Jennings and Bialik as the permanent co-hosts to take over for the late Alex Trebek. Regarding the executive producing role, Davies stepped in after Mike Richards was fired last year.
Jeopardy!Â Season 39 returns Sept. 12 on ABC.
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