The best contestants in the long history of "Jeopardy!" unite for another game show that debuts Thursday evening on WABC-TV. It's called "The Chase," because this game pits the champions against new players in a high stakes primetime battle.
Before the pandemic hit, the "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time" Tournament proved a big ratings winner -- so ABC recruited those champs to play another game.
To win money, ordinary Americans must beat the best game show contestants in the country: "Jeopardy!" champions: Brad Rutter, James Holzhauer, and the all time champ, Ken Jennings.
The new show is based on one of the biggest daytime hit in Britain, watched regularly by more than 5 million people.
"It's very cutthroat, it's very fast," said Sara Haines, who was hired to host the American version of "The Chase."
The contestants answer questions valued at $25,000 each, questions like, "As a guideline for how long to wash your hands, the CDC advises humming what tune twice?"
The correct answer is "Happy Birthday."
After this, they must face one of the champs -- or GOATs, as they are called, short for "greatest of all time."
"The game is calibrated pretty carefully so it can be a close game," Jennings said.
So in other words, the newcomers have certain advantages to prevent a blowout.
"The Chase" takes place down a big board, where experienced players answer trivia questions trying to deny the new players money.
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Long before he ever appeared on "Jeopardy," Holzhauer played a cable TV version of this game when he was unknown, so he's been on both sides of this and says the "chasers" like himself have "kind of a big home field advantage."
"I'm a professional sports gambler," he said. "Home field advantage is some thing people underestimate, but if you're comfortable up there and the opponents aren't, that's a huge difference out there."
In fact, he credits his appearance on the earlier version of this show with getting him comfortable playing in front of TV cameras.
What makes this "Chase" even more interesting is watching the way the champs come up with their answers.
"One of the fascinating parts wasn't always that they knew the answer, but they knew how to get to the answer," Haines said. "So as someone who enjoyed consuming trivia, I found their brains fascinating, how they'd work through it, and they could often get there even if they didn't know when they started."
What makes "The Chase" more fun fun is a feature unique to this game: a booth where the champions who aren't playing can comment on the action.
"While the active chaser is playing, we had a little lounge setup with the other two chasers to comment on how the game's going," Rutter said.
It's sort of like color commentary during a football game, and Jennings jokes on the show, "This is the Ken-FL"
"It's the two grumpy old guys from 'The Muppet Show,' basically," he said.
The premiere of "The Chase" is dedicated to the late host of "Jeopardy!" Alex Trebek, which is only fitting because the host's final shows taped before his death are airing all this week.
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