A wedding proposal brought about a rule change on ‘Jeopardy!’

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV)- We’ve all seen the TV game show, Jeopardy!

Contestants are given trivia questions in the form of statements and have to answer them in the form of questions. Get the question right, you get that amount credited to your account.

But at the end of the game, only the winning player’s amount matters. He or she takes that amount of money home and is invited back to the next show.

The runners-up are gone. They do get $2,000 for finishing in second place, $1,000 for finishing third.
It wasn’t always like that. Before 1984, runners-up took home whatever they earned during the game. Why the change?

Because one contestant wanted to propose to his girlfriend.

The late Alex Trebek wrote the Jeopardy! Book in 1990 and tells this story:
Contestants often played cautiously, played it safe to protect the cash they won in the early rounds. In 1967, one contestant came on the show with one idea in mind: He was going to win just enough to buy an engagement ring.

And he did win enough for a ring about halfway through the game and then he just shut up. He would risk no more and it made for a very dull game for everyone else.
When producers rebooted the game in 1984, they decided that would never happen again. Contestants wouldn’t get to keep the money they won unless they came in first. Now they have to keep playing. Even that one or two thousand dollar consolation prize may put some contestants in the red.

As Wikipedia tells us, Jeopardy does not generally provide your airfare or your lodging where it tapes in Los Angeles. In other words, you have every incentive to stay in the game.

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