Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune Set to Resume Production with Social Distancing Measures
"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 studio spokesperson tells PEOPLE
"Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are returning to the studio to tape episodes for the shows’ upcoming seasons," a studio spokesperson tells PEOPLE. "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."
"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," the spokesperson adds.
Wheel of Fortune will feature a redesigned wheel to ensure that contestants are six feet apart, and the podiums in Jeopardy will be spaced out further than usual to keep a safe amount of space between contestants and host Alex Trebek.
Contestants will reportedly be tested for COVID-19 before coming into the studio, and staff and crew will be tested regularly. Additionally, everyone off-camera will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE).
In March, a source close to both game shows confirmed to PEOPLE that they would be filmed without a studio audience amid the pandemic — in part as a consideration for Trebek‘s health. Trebek is in an ongoing fight against stage 4 pancreatic cancer, making him more susceptible to the virus.
Last week, Trebek clarified a comment he made in his memoir, The Answer Is …Reflections on My Life, in which he said he would not continue cancer treatment if his current round is unsuccessful.
The beloved game show host said on Twitter Wednesday that he made that comment before beginning his current treatment regimen, and that he would consider returning to chemotherapy.
“I feel the need to clarify my quote that, if my course of cancer treatment does not continue to work, I would consider stopping treatment. That quote from the book was written BEFORE my current regimen, and I was going through some bad times,” Trebek said, via the Jeopardy! Twitter account.
“My current numbers are very good, but we will have to be patient with this new immunotherapy program that I am on. But, if it were to stop being successful, I would return to my previous chemo treatment — NOT stop all treatment,” he said. “I apologize for any confusion, and want everyone to know that I am optimistic about my current plan, and thank them for their concerns.”
He also added that he was looking forward to taping more Jeopardy!
"Once again, I can't wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new season in September," he said. "Meanwhile, my wish for all of you: stay safe."
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