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Jay Wolpert is an American television producer and screenwriter.
His first television appearance came as a contestant on the original version of Jeopardy! in 1969. He competed in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions that year and won.
Wolpert began his game show producing career working for U.S. quiz scandal figure Dan Enright in Canada. He later worked as a producer and creator of game shows for Chuck Barris Productions and Goodson-Todman Productions. While at Goodson-Todman, he served as producer of The Price is Right from 1972 until 1978 and also created the short-lived game show Double Dare for CBS.
Wolpert left Goodson-Todman to form his own production company, and his first game show was the 1979 series Whew! for CBS. Wolpert produced the series with Burt Sugarman for most of its run, and the series has gained a cult following over the years. Whew! was canceled in 1980 and Wolpert didn't return to television with a series until January 1983, despite shooting several pilots in the interim. On January 3, 1983, Wolpert's Hit Man debuted on NBC with Peter Tomarken, who had never hosted a series before, as its host. Like most of Wolpert's productions, Hit Man was short-lived and left the air after thirteen weeks.
Five years later, Wolpert returned to daytime television with the series Blackout for CBS. Debuting on January 4, 1988 in place of the long-running hit The $25,000 Pyramid, Blackout never found an audience as, among other reasons, many Pyramid fans protested the cancellation. The Bob Goen-hosted Blackout ended after thirteen weeks of episodes and was replaced by The $25,000 Pyramid.
In 1990 Wolpert launched a new series on the Lifetime network based on a pilot he had shot in 1981 with Tomarken as host. On February 5, 1990, Rodeo Drive debuted with comedienne Louise DuArt hosting. Again, however, Wolpert was behind a short lived series and Rodeo Drive ended its run on August 31 of that year; the show had only aired twelve weeks of new episodes prior to that and had been in reruns until the program was removed from Lifetime's lineup.
After a hiatus, Wolpert returned to the Goodson Productions team and produced a new Price is Right series for Goodson and Paramount Television. The New Price is Right debuted in syndication in September 1994, with Wolpert producing. But as with Wolpert's previous three series, ratings for The New Price is Right were lacking and it resulted in a cancellation after sixteen weeks in January 1995.
In 1996 Wolpert and The Family Channel teamed up for two series. One was Wait 'til You Have Kids, another short-lived series based on The Parent Game, a series produced by Wolpert's previous employer Chuck Barris. The other was the popular Shopping Spree, which ran for nearly two years and was Wolpert's longest-running game show in his company's history. After Shopping Spree went off the air in August 1998, Wolpert's company stopped producing programming. He was executive producer of the 1998 version of Match Game. Despite having worked for Goodson during the 1970's, he didn't work on the 1970's version of that show.
More recently, Wolpert has turned to screenwriting, writing the script for The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) and receiving a story credit for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).
Wolpert has also made some acting appearances. He played the OB-GYN who tells Diane Keaton she is pregnant in Father of the Bride 2.
In the 2010-11 season, Wolpert is listed as a consultant during the credits of Who Wants to be a Millionaire and had some input in that season's format changes.
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