From a high-profile host replacement controversy to multiple record-setting champions, the long-lived game show Jeopardy! has clearly been having a moment over the past year or so.
But – perhaps due to the show’s longevity – common perceptions about who exactly is watching Jeopardy! don’t always line up with reality. A CivicScience survey of 4,200 U.S. adults in late February and early March shows that today’s Jeopardy! viewers are a lot younger and more diverse than one might expect.
First off, the survey showed that about 15% of American adults consider themselves to be regular Jeopardy! watchers, while another 20% watch the show occasionally.
Among those who watch on a regular basis, nearly 4 in 10 are under the age of 35. Only one-quarter are 65 or older.
Interestingly, it seems that Generation X simply missed the boat on Jeopardy!. Looking at the data another way, we see that Gen Xers are substantially less likely than their older and younger counterparts to shout trivia answers at their TVs each weeknight. Only 11% are regular watchers.
Regular and occasional watchers are also more diverse than non-watchers.
Jeopardy! is also one of those rare institutions that attract Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters alike.
But one’s preferred TV network does make a difference. Fans of ABC report watching Jeopardy! the most often, which makes sense given that ABC-owned stations have the rights to the show in five of the top six US media markets. Fans of the Fox TV network are the least interested in Jeopardy!, with only 8% saying they’re regular watchers (Fox has just 12 stations nationwide that carry the show).
In case you needed more evidence that the stereotypical Jeopardy! watcher might have been miscast in the public conscience, the results are clear: among all U.S. adults, current Jeopardy! fans enjoy using cannabis, betting on sports online, and going on TikTok more than those who don’t currently watch the show.
Jeopardy! has been around for decades, and that can lead us to assume that the show’s viewership has aged along with the show. But – at least for this particular game show – that doesn’t seem to be the case. While Gen X Americans largely skipped the nightly Jeopardy! tradition, there’s strong evidence that younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z) are tuning in for trivia in a major way.