No question: Watching classic episodes of "Jeopardy!" and reruns of "Wheel of Fortune" has been fun these past weeks during the coronavirus quarantine. After all, the shows had to pause production like much of Hollywood earlier this year to avoid transmitting the virus.
But that's all about to change again, as both shows have announced they're planning to resume production in their usual Culver City, California, studios.
"'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Jeopardy!' are returning to the studio to tape episodes for the shows' upcoming seasons," a Sony Pictures studio spokesperson told TODAY in a statement. "The productions have protocols in place in accordance with current government guidelines to protect contestants, staff, crew and talent from the spread of COVID-19. While some things may have changed behind the scenes and on the set to keep everyone safe, fans can expect to see the same 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Jeopardy!' they have come to love when the season starts."
What sort of changes? Well, for one thing the sets will look different. The big wheel on "Wheel" has been redesigned to allow for contestants to stand the proper social distance apart, while on "Jeopardy!" the podiums where the contestants stand have also been spread out. Contestants will stand a safe distance from the hosts as well.
In addition, here are a few other changes going on in front of and behind the camera:
- Only essential staff and crew will be on the stage with contestants and hosts
- PPE will be available for everyone behind-the-scenes
- Social distancing measures will be enforced on stage and off
- Staff and crew will be tested regularly, and contestants will be tested before they arrive at the studio to tape
According to Deadline, "Jeopardy!" will start filming its 38th season with five episodes a day, two days a week starting this week; "Wheel" hopes to start filming its 37th season in early August. The shows stopped filming in front of a studio audience on March 10, then ceased production entirely on March 16.