Other than Alex Trebek, what other Canadian can appear on Jeopardy? If you answered, “What is no one?” you’d be correct. A recent change to Canada’s online privacy laws has pushed producers of America’s favorite quiz show to reevaluate who, if anyone, can come from over the northern border to apply for the Merv Griffin-created game show.
As far as what the exact exclusion is? No one is quite sure.
Reports the Toronto Star on Feb. 22: “Neither Trebek nor the producers were able to pinpoint what exactly the issue is with Canada’s privacy laws that prevent Canadians from completing the online tests. Requests made by the Toronto Star to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission and Industry Canada were similarly fruitless.”
Jeopardy spokesperson Alison Shapiro said producers are looking at how they can overcome the Canadian omissions.
“As international laws governing how information is shared over the internet are ever-changing and complex, we are currently investigating how we can accept registrations from potential Canadian contestants,” Shapiro said in an email to the Star. “The Jeopardy! Adult, Teen, and College tests have already taken place this year, and we are making every effort to find a solution before the next round of testing is available.”
Even Trebek, who has been at the helm of the show since 1984, felt compelled to comment on the problem, calling it an issue “affecting my native country and the show I love,” Trebek said, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
“It is true that for the most recent Jeopardy contestant tryouts, Canadians were precluded from taking the online test, since the show must now comply with new rules set down by the Canadian government,” the 75-year-old Trebek said. “We have had many Canadians as contestants throughout the history of the show, and we hope that will continue, because Canadians make great game show contestants. We look forward to having more try out as soon as we are sure we can comply with all Canadian online privacy laws,” he said.
Once a person gets on the list of Jeopardy contestant potentials, they remain there for 18 months, so it’s likely some Canadians from last year’s qualifying tests will yet appear. After that, it’s U.S. or bust.
Some Canadians are taking the news in stride, while others are lashing out at the game show.
“Canadians are no longer allowed to be contestants on Jeopardy. I’m assuming because we win too much money,” tweeted Kelsey Ticheler. Fellow Canuck Michael John Glazier tweeted: “@Jeopardy I find it funny a Canadian host and you won’t allow Canadians on the show. WHY??? I guess we’re too smart.”
“Canadians no longer eligible for Jeopardy! That will be Bummer for $2000 Alex,” wrote Jim Cornish on Jeopardy’s Facebook page. “I’ll take ‘Game Show Ignorance’ for $10,” wrote Ken Watson. “I’m no Canadian, but I’m calling this utter BS on Jeopardy’s part.”