On an episode of the popular television gameshow 'Jeopardy!
' that aired on October 12, contestant Susan Cole, a librarian from Bowie, Maryland, described her favorite genre of music -- 'nerdcore' -- during the portion of the show where contestants share fun facts about themselves.
Seated at a polished grand piano in his pristine white living room, the host is plinking out that familiar, lilting melody one note at a time. But the subject of the promotional video being taped by cool hand Alex Trebek may, for millions of diehard Jeopardy!
“I’m sorry I can’t be with you today,” he says earnestly into a camera lens peering from across the room, “but I had to stay home and practice for Jeopardy! fans, be the next best thing: a souped-up version of the famous quiz show, slated to run for 13 weeks of Saturday night prime time on ABC, and christened, appropriately enough, Super Jeopardy!
mastermind Arthur Chu and to speculate as to why women are less likely to win at the game than men are.
“Women contestants, when it comes to a Daily Double, seem to want to wager [less] because they figure, ‘Oh, this is the household money, this is the grocery money, the rent money,’” Trebek said. We crunched the numbers of Daily Double bets dating back to 1984—the year that Trebek first took the podium to kick off the quiz show’s current iteration—and found that although there is no drastic gender difference in bet size, there is a consistent gap in male and female wagers that’s persisted across the show’s 30-year run. Archive, a website that keeps a record of contestant names, questions, answers, wagers, and winnings stretching back to 1984.
If the answer is “unmitigated bliss,” then the question must be, “What will Super Jeopardy! ” An offshoot of one of the most successful syndicated programs in history, Super Jeopardy!
is one of the few game shows to run in prime time since the genre’s heyday in the ’50s.
(Though for two years in our sample—20—women actually wagered more than men did.) What’s less clear is whether a more conservative bet actually constitutes a poor strategy for female players.
According to our data, women win with no betting involved—no Daily Doubles or Final Jeopardy questions.