|GSN: 1/30/1998 – 9/1/2000|
|Scott Sternberg Productions|
Columbia TriStar Television
Jep! was a short-lived children's version of Jeopardy!, the show aired from 1998-2000 lasting for 2 seasons.
Three child contestants competed. For the first two rounds they were seated in futuristic chairs (explanation later). As on the adult version of the show, the kid contestants had to buzz-in and respond in the form of a question. Unlike in the adult version, however, the host always warned the contestants at the beginning of every show that responses must be in the form of a question or they cannot be accepted even if the response itself would've been correct and regardless of the round; therefore, the phrasing rule was the most strict on this version. On the adult version as well as Rock & Roll Jeopardy! and Sports Jeopardy!, the host would usually remind players to watch their phrasing in the first round, but there would be no reminders in the second; however, players are allowed to correct themselves before time runs out.
Differences from the regular show
- Smaller Podiums – While the contestant lecterns featured a similar appearance to that of the then-current "sushi bar" set on the adult version, they were smaller in size. As stated above, the players were seated.
- Colored Podiums – Each contestant's lectern had a different color, similar to that of Wheel of Fortune and its child counterpart Wheel 2000. However, the blue and red lecterns were switched; therefore, the blue was on the left, and the red on the right.
- Scoring – Contestants played for points instead of dollars. However, as in the adult version, correct responses added points, while incorrect responses deducted points (and in the first two rounds earned an "In Jeopardy!" light, as explained below).
- Game Board – The game board held five categories with four clues each (scaled down from the traditional six categories with five clues on the adult version). Rather than the player calling out an amount for the clue, a randomizer was used to select point value. The font for the clues is the same one used on the adult version. The four clues are signified by four red lights above the category monitor. Each time a clue is used up, one light goes out; with all four red lights out meaning the category has been used up.
- Signaling Buttons – Large red buttons mounted on the lecterns were used instead of the famous handheld thumb-depressed signaling devices used the adult version of the show. They were used both to stop the randomizer in the selection of clue point amounts and when buzzing in to respond to a clue. Each contestant had two buzzers.
- Buzzer Sounds – When a player buzzed in, a "boing" sound was played. The adult version of the show had a buzzer sound during all of the Fleming era and some of the first season of the Trebek era ("ding"); the signaling sound was eliminated midway into the first season of the Trebek era.
- The "In Jeopardy!" lights – On the adult version of the show, a horizontal panel of nine lights on the player's lectern above the player's score was used to indicate how much time a player who had rung in had left to respond. In Jep!, there were only three lectern lights which were designated "In Jeopardy!" lights; the lights themselves were much bigger than those of the adult show. When a player gave an incorrect response during the first two rounds, not only did the player have points deducted, but one of the three lights lit up in red. Getting one red light meant that a "vat" above the player's head would "cook" up something, usually styrofoam peanuts or packaging items. Two lights meant the "vat" would open up, spilling its contents on the player's head. Three lights meant that the player still seated in his/her chair would return back into the wall behind the lectern from when he/she came at the beginning of the show, and the player would not able to respond to the next clue. After one clue, the player and his/her chair returned, and the player's "In Jeopardy!" lights reset. In case the player controlling the board got sent behind the wall, the player of the remaining two with the lowest score chose a clue.
The Jep! Round
Point values ranged from 100 to 500 points.
The Hyper Jep! Round
Similar to Double Jeopardy! on the adult version of the program. Point values were doubled, meaning that they ranged from 200 to 1,000.
The Daily Double clues worked the same way as on the adult version of the program. The contestant who selected a Daily Double wagered any or all of his or her current score (up to the maximum value of the clue in that round if he or she had anything less than that). A correct response added the wager to the player's score, but an incorrect response deducted the wager from the player's score (and also received an "In Jeopardy" light).
In addition to the Daily Doubles, there were two special clues in each of the first two rounds. They were:
- The Jep! Squad: A kid from anywhere in America read the clue via prerecorded video. This was a forerunner to the regular version's Clue Crew and the trademark Daily Double "laser" sound occurred when this screen was shown.
- Jep! Prize: In addition to the points, the player who answered correctly also won a merchandise prize (originally handed to the player by host Bergen, later delivered down from the rafters). The prizes were either a Game.Com or a Light Wars game (both were released by Tiger Electronics). The prize was the player's to keep, regardless of the game's outcome, and again, the trademark Daily Double "laser" sound occurred when this screen was shown.
The Super Jep! Round
The Super Jep! Round was played the same as the adult version's Final Jeopardy! except that even though they could finish with zero or a negative score, no player could be eliminated prior to the round—all three players played this round. If any player ended the Hyper Jep! Round with zero or a negative score, that player's score was increased to 500 points, and the other players' scores were increased by the same amount just to make things fair. For example, if one contestant had 0, the other two contestants' scores were increased by 500. The Super Jep! category was revealed in the center monitor; during the break the contestants made wagers. When the break was over, the Super Jep! clue was revealed and the players had 30 seconds while Think! plays to write down their responses which have to be phrased in the question form. When the time was up, the responses were checked one at a time starting with the third-place player's, and ending with the first-place player. The player with the most points won the game.
The Prize Choices
At the end of the game, all three contestants got a choice of two prizes. The third-place winner went first and chose one of two third place prizes. The second-place winner was next, and got a choice of two second place prizes. The day's grand prize winner chose last; that player got a choice of two grand prizes.
- The Jep! theme music differed from the current Jeopardy! theme by the addition of alto sax and electric guitars.
- Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek was credited as the show's consultant, but not the host. He also gave some of the clues via the middle monitor on three shows.
- On one show to celebrate the special "TV Tuned in to Kids & Family Week", all three rounds had a category devoted to cable television.
- With the exception of executive producer Scott Sternberg, whose company packaged Jep!, and host Bergen, most of the staff who worked on Jep! also worked on Jeopardy!
- The show was taped at Stage 11 of Sony Pictures Studios, the same studio where Wheel of Fortune tapes. Rock & Roll Jeopardy! was also taped at Stage 11.
- Jep! was originally going to appear on CBS as part of the 1998-99 US Saturday morning TV schedule replacing The Weird Al Show, but it was bumped and replaced with Birdz, becuase Jep! was only on GSN.
- This show inspired the "Kids Week" on the current version.
- Contestant announcer – Host Bob Bergen introduced the contestants as well as prize plugs, but when came time to introduce him, one of the contestants (usually the one at the blue lectern) did the honor.
- JepTV.com – On a few shows, there was a category called JepTV.com named after the show's website. There was a survey on that site and some of the questions were about that survey; most of the others were about the Internet itself.
- Triple Dump – On three shows in which all three contestants gave one incorrect response or no incorrect responses each after the first two rounds, everybody got dumped anyway.
- Light pen/Videowriter – The contestants on the show not only wrote down their Super Jep! responses using the lectern-mounted light pen systems, but they also wrote down their responses for certain clues during the main game, saying "What is..." aloud and completing the response in writing.