Alex Trebek Returns to Jeopardy! for Season 37 with Updated COVID-19 Guidelines

Jeopardy! is back!

The ABC game show returned for its 37th season on Monday, with Alex Trebek resuming his role as host.

"Welcome, welcome, welcome, as Jeopardy! begins its 37th season of original quiz programming, with a few changes having been made to adjust for COVID-19," Trebek, 80, said at the start of the episode.

The host explained to viewers that due to the ongoing pandemic, the contestants' podiums have been distanced from each other and from Trebek's lectern. The staff and crew are also following the social distancing guidelines.

"We are trying to provide as safe an environment as possible as we produce these new programs for your enjoyment," Trebek said.

In a press release that detailed the show's new coronavirus guidelines last week, Trebek said, "I feel good, and I feel excited because once again Jeopardy! has demonstrated that it’s at the forefront of television programming."

"I believe we are the first quiz show to come back on the air in the COVID-19 era," he said.

"On a personal level, I’m excited because it gets me out of the house. It gives me something to do on a regular basis, and I was missing that," added Trebek, who is currently undergoing treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards echoed Trebek's statements, saying, "I think the world needs something to be happy about. So when the greatest quiz show of all time starts airing new episodes, then they can take a deep breath and say 'Oh, it’s Jeopardy! It’s the same great show, and it’s even better.' "

Earlier this year, a studio spokesperson told PEOPLE that Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! were 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," they shared. "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."

Jeopardy! airs weekdays at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.

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