After a two-year break, King World's Jeopardy
is bringing back its celebrity version for the May sweeps. Playing the game this year will be such stars as Wayne Brady (of Buena Vista's The Wayne Brady Show and ABC's Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Chris Matthews (NBC Enterprises' The Chris Matthews Show
and MSNBC's Hardball), Vivica Fox (recent theatricals Boat Trip
and Two Can Play), Ashton Kucher (Fox's That '70s Show), Julie Bowen (NBC's Ed), Lauren Graham (The WB's Gilmore Girls) and Paige Davis (TLC's Trading Spaces).
Five episodes will air April 28-May 2, helping the game show close out its 19th season. Jeopardy
has been the No. 2 strip in syndication behind King World's Wheel of Fortune
since premiering in syndication in 1984. Historically, Celebrity Jeopardy
has been the show's highest-rated theme week, King World says.
Even with a history of high ratings, the show grew 5% in national household ratings this February sweeps over last. It also improved its performance by 7% in women 18-34, 5% in women 18-49, 5% in women 25-54, 10% in men 18-34 and 6% in men 25-54.
Appearing on a quiz show can provoke anxiety in celebrities, who fear losing on national television. But celebs use the appearance to raise money for favorite charities—$20,000 each for losing contestants and $50,000 for each show's winner—and cross-promote their own projects. Brady, who appeared on Celebrity Jeopardy two years ago when it shot in Las Vegas, had a crew shooting footage to use on his syndicated talk show.
Brady said he "begged on his hands and knees" to be allowed to come back on the show because, last time, he lost the game after he didn't risk enough money on Final Jeopardy.
"Celebrities add a touch of excitement to the show," said host Alex Trebek. "I am always genuinely and pleasantly surprised by how well they do even when they aren't doing well. A lot of celebrities have noticed that you don't have to win to look good on the show."