‘Jeopardy!’ will return with a modified, socially distanced set

Popular syndicated game show “Jeopardy!” is prepping to kick off its 37th season — but it will, much like many things these days, look a bit different.

The show resumed taping earlier this summer from a modified set and without a studio audience.

Although the basic layout of the set is essentially the same it’s been since the show’s early days — things are a bit more spread out to encourage social distancing.

Perhaps the most notable change is that the contestant lecterns are now “standalone” units rather than being placed right next to each other.

In some iterations of the show’s numerous set designs, the contestant lecterns were more like a single long counter or table with the scoreboards and monitors display contestant names and Final Jeopardy! responses serving as a way (along with the cutouts for the digital writing pads) to delineate the “section” designated for each player. 

Other designs give the look that each contestant had his or own unit, though they were placed so close together it was often difficult to tell and they were often physically connected to each other.

For “Jeopardy!” in the age of coronavirus, however, the show built three new, separate pod like lecterns. The look, as indicated by a photo the show released to the media, mirrors the same design as prior to the modifications.

Another change brought about by the new design is that the middle contestant now has two privacy panels that are put into place during “Final Jeopardy!” — when contestants have to write down a response.

The panels are designed to prevent contestants from seeing each other’s wagers or responses (wagers are written down prior to the clue being revealed and can often have a significant effect on who wins — even if no one gets the correct response).

The two contestants on the far left and right also have a single panel that separates them from the contestant to one side.

Meanwhile, host Alex Trebek also has a completely new lectern as well that uses a more distinct look than his previous one.

In another change, popular contestant Ken Jennings has also signed on to appear on camera reading clues, work on new projects and serve as a sort of ambassador for the show.

Also updated is the on set monitor between the contestants and host which no longer has the curved metallic structure below and instead uses two thick, uplit legs and has gained an internally lit frame (electronics manufacturer Sony, whose entertainment division owns the show, typically likes to provide the show’s technology).

Sister show “Wheel of Fortune” has also announced it has made set updates to spread out contestants.

Other set adjustments include a new riser that extends from in front of the game board to the contestant area. Trebek’s lectern is also on this level.

Meanwhile, the photo also shows that the long table for judges that sits just off set has been updated with clear dividers. 

In the photo, the on internally lit columns now used a lighter blue shade instead of the gold used previously, though it’s not immediately clear if this is the permeant lighting cue.

The risers are also shown using a similar shade.

The photo the show released also appears to give a hint of what this year’s opens will look like — it uses a globe design.

“Jeopardy!,” like many game shows, typically gets a graphics update each year.

The show, also like many game and talk shows, stopped using a studio audience earlier in 2020 due to coronavirus and also used specially packaged reruns to fill out some of the remaining time in the season.

“Jeopardy!” returns Sept. 14, 2020.