Sony Pictures Sony
Executive Producer

Harry Friedman

Harry Friedman is the executive producer of the two most enduring and successful syndicated programs of all time: JEOPARDY! and Wheel Of Fortune

Harry Friedman is television’s most prolific game show producer of all time. In his current position as Executive Producer of the two most lasting and successful syndicated programs ever, Wheel of Fortune and JEOPARDY!, he has produced more than 9,500 episodes of the iconic shows to date. His decades-spanning career is marked by his unique ability to honor the traditions of the past while keeping an eye towards the future, tweaking both programs just enough to keep them current and on the cutting edge. Under his stewardship, Wheel of Fortune and JEOPARDY! have transcended the game show category and are among the most buzzworthy programs of any type on television today.

Friedman is a multiple Emmy® Award winner, a Peabody Award winner, and a three-time Guinness World Record® holder; he also has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and has been inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

At the helm of Wheel of Fortune and JEOPARDY! he has earned three Guinness World Records: he holds the records for most Emmy Award nominations for a game show producer with 48 and most Emmy Award wins by a game show producer with 14. He was also recently recognized by Guinness World Records for having produced more game show episodes than any other individual: 12,540 episodes and counting. In 2011, both shows tied for the Outstanding Game Show Emmy Award, and Friedman became the first producer ever to win two Emmys in the same category in a tie with himself.

In 2007, Friedman was honored by the National Association of Television Program Executives with the prestigious Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. Later that year, he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.

A 2012 Daily Variety Daytime TV Impact Honoree, Friedman is known for staying ahead of the curve by creating innovative game elements and incorporating the latest technology into both shows. In September 2006, Wheel of Fortune and JEOPARDY! made television history when they became the first syndicated programs to broadcast in High Definition. Friedman also shepherded the development of Wheel of Fortune and JEOPARDY! mobile games, as well as versions for Facebook, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation, and Amazon Echo.

Harry, Alex and the crew celebrating the 7000th Episode of Jeopardy!

A member of the Writers Guild of America-West and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Friedman lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Judy. Together, they are champions of philanthropy. The pair supports Omaha’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, and multiple scholarship funds for deserving college students. Friedman is also a co-founder and board member of the Marlene F. Landy Cancer Foundation, which provides support to cancer patients while undergoing treatment. To date, more than 400 families have received assistance.

Additionally, the Friedmans have established The Harry and Judy Friedman Family Foundation, a private foundation supporting programs that aim to assist children by reducing hunger and increasing educational opportunities. The foundation also supports veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and programs dedicated to the rescue and humane treatment of animals.

It's a kick for us to be able to open up that window to a different world to our home audience.

Long before the concept of student internships was created, Friedman, an Omaha native, began hanging around the city’s television stations, learning by watching and doing whatever management permitted.

In 1971, Friedman arrived in Los Angeles and, without contacts, gave himself six months to find a job. With less than 24 hours remaining on his self-imposed deadline, he landed a part-time question-writer spot on “The Hollywood Squares,” marking the beginning of his long, valued relationship with Heatter-Quigley Productions. Over the following 11 years, Friedman wrote and produced thousands of episodes of the popular series and was also actively involved in the development of several other game shows. He first joined Wheel of Fortune as producer in 1995, adding producer duties for JEOPARDY! in 1997. In 1999, he was elevated to executive producer for both series.

Friedman’s other writing and producing credits range from network primetime specials, such as “American Yearbook” for CBS, to documentaries and home video. He also has worked with such companies as FOX, Dick Clark Productions, Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Buena Vista Television/ABC, Orion Television, The Playboy Channel, Laurel Entertainment, Vin Di Bona Productions, A&E Network, Krofft Productions, Rosner Television and Four Star Productions.

Harry holding two Emmy Awards

Under Friedman’s direction, JEOPARDY!, America’s Favorite Quiz Show®, has become the most honored syndicated game show in television history. JEOPARDY! has won a total of 35 Emmy Awards; in 2019, N.A.T.A.S. honored Alex Trebek with the Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host. In 2011, Friedman guided JEOPARDY! to win its first-ever Peabody Award. The awards panel credited the show for its role in “encouraging, celebrating and rewarding knowledge.”

Friedman has continued to broaden the show’s scope with an expanded list of challenging categories and clues that reflect popular culture and a variety of special tournaments. In 2003, he lifted JEOPARDY!’s five-day limit rule for contestants, allowing returning champions to continue amassing winnings as long as they remain victorious. This rule change led the way for the memorable 74-consecutive-day run of Utah software engineer Ken Jennings, during which he won a record $2.5 million. Series viewership increased an impressive 30 percent during the streak, at times outperforming primetime programs while making it one of the most talked-about shows in the country.

In 2011, Friedman oversaw “JEOPARDY! The IBM Challenge,” a historic exhibition match that pitted two of the show’s most successful and celebrated contestants – Jennings and Brad Rutter – against an IBM computer named Watson. Thanks to this unique partnership, JEOPARDY! served as a vital testing ground for the next generation of artificial intelligence. The three-day exhibition scored the series’ highest ratings in five years, surging 30 percent from the previous year, making Watson a pop culture icon and a part of the American lexicon. The advanced technology that IBM developed to create Watson is now being used at many leading cancer research institutes.

Friedman’s ideas have reached far beyond the famous Stage 10 at Sony Studios where JEOPARDY! is taped. He was instrumental in the creation of the Clue Crew, a team of roving correspondents who travel the world delivering visual clues for the millions of viewers back home. Additionally, Friedman plays a very active role in JEOPARDY!’s digital and social initiatives. Friedman was also the driving force behind streaming network Crackle’s weekly quiz show “Sports Jeopardy!”, which launched in 2014 and for which he served as executive producer.