We’ll take “Spilling the tea” for $1,000.
A former “Jeopardy!” hotshot is sharing secrets from one of the longest-running TV game shows in a brand new podcast.
Buzzy Cohen, the champion best known by his nickname “Mr. Personality,” which was handed down by late host Alex Trebek, revealed that his famous nine-day winning streak actually only took place over the course of two days.
The music executive told Insider that “Jeopardy!” tapes five shows — a week’s worth — in a single day with breaks long enough to allow winners to change outfits between tapings.
Cohen, who took home over $164,600 after playing 10 games in 2016, said the process was “exhausting.”
“That is certainly something that I think people are surprised by,” he said. “It really makes the fact that people can go on these long runs even more impressive because it’s endurance as well as mental and physical stamina.”
The secret is just one of five Cohen shared with the outlet and plans to expose in his new podcast, “This Is Jeopardy! The Story of America’s Favorite Quiz Show,” a Sony production that was launched Wednesday.
Cohen — who returned to win the 2017 Tournament of Champions for the $250,000 jackpot before guest-hosting the program four years later in the wake of Trebek’s death — said the show explores how “Jeopardy!” became an American institution and has enjoyed 59 years of success.
The podcast aims to take fans behind the scenes, including from Cohen’s own experience playing on and hosting the program.
When he guest-hosted the Tournament of Champions in 2021, Cohen was surprised to find how busy the host is despite not getting much airtime.
“What’s kind of surprising is how little you’re maybe on-screen, but you are reading the clue, calling a contestant, making a ruling, asking them to select,” Cohen told the outlet. “Whereas if you’re a contestant and someone else has a daily double, you’re kind of like, ‘OK, take a breath, I’m going to regroup here.’ But if you’re the host, you’re in all of those moments.”
Striking the right balance of enthusiasm during gameplay is a crucial, but difficult job, Cohen noted, but one Trebek mastered.
Thirdly, Cohen revealed that a man named Michael Harris, who also serves as a researcher for the show, manually controls the buzzer.
If a contestant buzzes in before the host finishes reading the clue, the player is locked out for a quarter of a second.
Cohen said he dedicated an entire podcast episode to the buzzer.
Though an episode of “Jeopardy!” has a runtime of approximately 20 minutes, Cohen also divulged that there are often long pauses to allow judges to deliberate a contestant’s answer.
“There’s a lot of traffic control stuff that good hosts make look easy,” Cohen said. “I practiced a lot to make it as easy as possible, but you don’t really think about it when you’re just watching the show.”
Lastly, Cohen revealed to Insider that the “Jeopardy!” alumni have formed a close-knit community, an important relationship in the face of inevitable social media harassment.
Cohen himself was trolled for his tongue-in-cheek attitude that some viewers found arrogant.
The 2018 Teen Tournament Champion Clair Sattler revealed last year that she was harassed after appearing on the show and 40-game Amy Schneider spoke out about anti-transgender messages she received during her run.
“The folks at ‘Jeopardy!’ really want the fans to respect the contestants,” Cohen said. “I’m glad this show is taking more of a forward approach, and I also love when my fellow contestants can jump in and kind of assemble the ‘Jeopardy!’ alum avengers to support our fellow contestants.”