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Jeopardy! winners won't cross the picket line for Tournament Of Champions

At least five Jeopardy! champions are standing by the writers

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Ken Jennings and the computer that defeated him
Ken Jennings and the computer that defeated him
Photo: Ben Hider (Getty Images)

This beloved American gameshow is caught in the crosshairs of the WGA strike. What is Jeopardy!?

The labor actions energizing the American workforce have found a new ally: Jeopardy champions. Over the weekend, 13-time Jeopardy!-winner and proud IATSE union member Ray Lalonde announced in the Jeopardy subreddit that he would not cross the picket line to appear on Jeopardy!’s annual Tournament Of Champions. In the post, Lalonde said that he was alerted to a “contingency plan” for the Tournament should the strike continue. The plan? Use “old and/or recycled material” written by WGA members prior to the strike. Ah, nothing but the best for America’s brightest.


“I am and will always be grateful for the experience I had on the show, and the opportunity to participate in the TOC is beyond a dream come true for me,” he wrote. “That being said, I believe that the show’s writers are a vital part of the show, and they are justified in taking their job action to secure a fair contract for themselves and their fellow WGA members.”


“As a supporter of the trade union movement, a union member’s son, and a proud union member myself, I have informed the show’s producers that if the strike remains unresolved, I will not cross a picket line to play in the Tournament Of Champions.”


He’s not the only one. Other Jeopardy! winners, including 21-time winner Cris Pannullo, eight-time winner Hannah Wilson, six-time winner Troy Meyer, and nine-time winner Ben Chan, all expressed their solidarity with Lalonde in the subreddit.

Since the strike started, Jeopardy! has been a regular source of controversy, which apparently is this show’s final form. In May, Ken Jennings caught the ire of one Mr. Wil Wheaton due to Jennings’s willingness to host the last four episodes of the Jeopardy! Masters tournament, crossing the WGA picket line to do so. “This is a VERY small town, Ken Jennings, and we will all remember this,” Wheaton wrote on Facebook. Mayim Bialick stood in solidarity with the show’s writers.


“Our words are on the screen every night,” Jeopardy writers Billy Wisse and Michelle Loud told Variety in May. “There is no Jeopardy without writers. Without us, it’s just an empty blue screen.”

[via HuffPost]