Ken Jennings Crosses the Picket Line to Tape Jeopardy!
Several productions have shut down due to the ongoing writer’s strike, but thanks to Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! won’t be one of them. Jennings officially crossed the picket line in order to host the program, Deadline reports — even after his co-host Mayim Bialik declined to do the same.
Jeopardy! is set to film the final episodes of its 39th season from May 16th through May 19th. According to Deadline, Bialik decided not to host the quiz show to stand in solidarity with striking writers, including Jeopardy! scribes Michele Loud, Jim Rhine, and Billy Wisse, who have joined the WGA picket lines. The show was able to continue because its questions were written before the strike, and because Jennings — who, as part of the program’s dual-host structure, led the program from last August to December — stepped up. Bialik began her hosting term in January.
The Writers Guild of America began its strike on May 2nd when the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to reach a contract that would adequately protect writers in the rapidly changing film and television industry (see: pay them a living wage and protect them from AI). The main issue stems from the rise of streaming, which has all-but-eradicated residuals — which allowed writers to receive a livable wage in previous years. For more information on the strike, read our explainer.
Since the strike requires all WGA writers to go “pencils down,” notable productions like Stranger Things and all of the big-name late night shows have shut down. Additionally, several Screen Actors Guild performers have backed out of gigs to show solidarity. The Directors Guild of America just began its own contract negotiations with AMPTP, and the SAG union will enter negotiations in the coming months.