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Question #90090 posted on 07/16/2017 10:36 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

If someone were sitting in the studio audience at a taping of Jeopardy! and right after Alex Trebek said the final jeopardy clue they flagrantly called out "What is [the right question]!" what's the worst the studio could inflict on that person? Could they bring civil or even criminal charges? arrest? or is the worst they could do kick them out and ban them for life?



Dear Wonderer,

As it happens, I have a friend who has both been a contestant on Jeopardy! and has also been a member of the audience for a taping. I asked him what he thought about your question. He said that the Final Jeopardy question would probably be thrown out and replaced with another one, and the audience member would likely be asked to leave. That seemed to be the worst of it, though; he didn't seem to think any criminal charges would be brought against the person (probably because they do have backup questions and it wouldn't do a whole lot to throw off the course of the game). I could envision a contestant perhaps getting upset if they knew the answer to the discarded question but not the replacement, so I could maybe see a contestant filing charges against the audience member, but I don't think there's any precedent for this sort of thing. I did a quick search for "Jeopardy Lawsuit" just to see what would come up, and the only relevant lawsuit that came up was this one, where a Jeopardy! contestant tried to make sure that the episode he was in never aired because he was losing so terribly (no word on how that actually turned out). 

So basically, it seems like most people who are audience members for Jeopardy! are pretty chill folks and this isn't really a problem they've had to deal with in the past.

-Frère Rubik