Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are heading back to the studio amid the ongoing pandemic, Deadline and USA Today are reporting. While fans are sure to be excited to see new episodes of their favorite game shows in the near future, they may also be concerned about the health and safety of Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak. Here's how both shows are adjusting their sets to ensure safe social distancing.
According to Deadline, Wheel of Fortune the wheel will be redesigned to provide proper social distancing between contestants. Meanwhile on Jeopardy!, the stage will be redesigned to allow for more space between the three contestant podiums. The contestant podium will also now be located at a safe distance from Trebek, which is especially important because the longtime host continues to battle stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Both shows tape in Culver City, California and will return to their sets in the coming days. Jeopardy! will reduce its filming schedule from five days to two days, however, it's unclear if Wheel of Fortune will do the same. “Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are returning to the studio to tape episodes for the shows’ upcoming seasons. The productions have protocols in place in accordance with current government guidelines to protect contestants, staff, crew and talent from the spread of COVID-19," a spokesperson told Deadline. "While some things may have changed behind the scenes and on the set to keep everyone safe, fans can expect to see the same Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! they have come to love when the season starts."
In addition to adjusting the stages, as well as filming schedules, both shows will implement a number of other safety measures. Only essential staff and crew will be allowed to return, PPE will be provided for everyone behind the scenes, Deadline reports. All staff and crew returning to set will also undergo regular COVID-19 testing, as well. In order to participate on the show, contestants will also be tested before their arrival.