in partnership
Seattle Refined host Gaard Swanson interviews Kelly Miyahara, a member of Jeopardy!'s Clue Crew, behind the set of the iconic game show. (Image: Sy Bean / Seattle Refined)

Getting to know Jeopardy's Clue Crew

Alex Trebek may be the host of Jeopardy! - but the real start?? The clues! If you're a fanatic of the show, you'll already know Kelly Miyahara - one of three members of the exclusive Clue Crew.

We're a little biased; we love Kelly because...she's a Husky!

"I'm a Husky, my parents are Huskies - my grandpa is even a Husky," she said. "So there's a long line of Huskies in my family."

Even though it's been a while since she's been back to the Emerald City, Kelly remembers its beauty and its people.

"When I moved to Seattle, I came as a California girl," said Kelly. "I wasn't used to the rain at all so when I got there, I thought 'I don't know if I can take this!' I came back to California, did a visit at UCLA just to see - and I realized I was so happy in Washington and it was because of the people. Doesn't matter the rain, doesn't matter the weather - the people in Seattle are genuine."

But Kelly eventually landed back in LA, working on one of the country's best game shows.

"It's been so exciting," she said. "I grew up watching Jeopardy, it was my mom's favorite show! It was the only show we could watch during dinnertime because my mom is a school teacher, so it was educational. Becoming part of the show - something I watched everyday - and now I work for this show! Alex Trebeck is my colleague! It's just a strange feeling and as you can imagine, my parents are over the moon to see their daughter on their favorite show as well."

"She does a terrific job, " said Executive Producer Harry Friedman. "She's been part of the Clue Crew for 10-11 she's one of the new kids."

Deeper behind the scenes, we found the real driving force of Jeopardy. The hard-working producers and writers that manage to stump us, every week night.

"Judging the difficulty [of a question] is what we do," said writer Billy Weiss. "As head writer, I put the clues in order. We have a round table discussion, and put the hardest question in the 1, and the easiest in the 5. If you see when you watch the show - it's not an exact science, but we try to know what the people will know and that's part of our job."

So how do you come up with the topics and what will be hot for the show?

"We just follow the culture," said Weiss. "We want to be up with what people are talking about but not too trendy - we have a lot of people who trust us to do the material we've been doing for 30+ years but we try to come up with fresh ways of doing tried and true material."

"It's like a god-send," said producer Maggie Speak. "So I have a long history! I started in the game show biz when I was 17-years-old, so to land on a show like Jeopardy where I am super proud of what we do - where my parents tell me right out loud what show I work on. It's a blessing. I'm thrilled to be here."

One thing she's noticed (and no, we didn't pay her to say this) - a lot of smart people come from the Seattle area.

"First of all it's a diverse group of professions up there: musicians, the artsy people, tech people," she said. "They just bring diversity to the show - and the more diverse we get the happier we are. I think it's more interesting for the audience to see what we're doing so Seattle provides a great deal of diversity on that level."

How long does Maggie think it will last?

"Ratings are great right now!" she said. "I'm not going anywhere. I have no plans after this show - I'm gonna hold out as long as I can."