Jeopardy Season 36 Changes & Predictions

Now that Season 35 is less than two months away from wrapping up, I think it would be a good time to discuss changes and predictions for Season 36. The new season will tape on July 23, and the first episode will air either September 9 or September 16. As always, the opening title graphics will change. And here are some changes and predictions that I see as possible:

  • There may be new theme and think music for next season. I say this because the current music package debuted during Season 25 and has been in use for a little over a decade already; and music packages tend to run for a round number of years or seasons. And my guess is John Hoke will likely be in charge since he did the current music package for sister show Wheel of Fortune just two years ago, as well as the theme music for Sports Jeopardy.

  • There may also be a new set; Jeopardy! tends to update the set every 4-7 seasons. The longest-running set lasted from 2002-2009 but underwent several minor changes when the show transitioned to HD in 2006. The CES set lasted only four seasons, and the current set has been in use since Season 30. So it may be time for a new set. Perhaps start the new season with the current set but introduce the new one in November or mid-season.

  • A special tournament in which James Holzhauer is automatically in the finals and the other two Jeopardy! giants, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, receive byes to the semifinal rounds. The event can be called the “Jeopardy! Battle of the Superstars”, “J! Holzhauer Challenge”, or they can call it the second “Ultimate Tournament of Champions”. However, unlike the UToC that was held during Season 21, this event will only last for three weeks like from November 4-22, 2019 or May 4-22, 2020. In addition to the three J! giants, there would be 21 contestants competing to face Holzhauer in the finals (all of whom played after Ken Jennings’ winning streak and before the 2017 ToC), and such champs would include - Matt Jackson, Ben Ingram, Julia Collins, Seth Wilson, Larissa Kelley, Roger Craig, Colby Burnett, Dan Pawson, Buzzy Cohen, Austin Rogers, Tom Nissley, Joon Pahk, Jason Keller, Arthur Chu, David Madden, Kristin Sausville, Joel Pool, Alex Jacob, Jason Zollinger, Kara Spak, Justin Sausville. There would be four rounds, and the contestants not receiving byes start in that round. Seven winners advance to the quarterfinals along with five wild-card spots among non-winners. Quarterfinals are four matches, but because Ken and Brad are automatically in the semifinals, no wild card spots, it’s win or go home. Ken and Brad would win their respective semifinal matches, setting the stage for the greatest matchup in Jeopardy! history. Because of his strategies he used during his 32-game winning streak in Season 35, James Holzhauer would become a giant killer himself and unseat Brad Rutter, handing him his first loss to a human opponent. The winner receives $1M while second place gets $200K and third place $100K. But James would still be third overall behind Ken and Brad in terms of total winnings earned on the show.