Friday, November 13, 2020

'Jeopardy' host Trebek's passing leaves tall shadow on popular show


The set of "Jeopardy" is familiar to fans of the acclaimed daytime TV show.  Host Alex Trebek worked up until days
 before his death earlier this week. His final episode will air Christmas day.


Alex Trebek, right, will be remembered for his grace, perfectionism and kindness, staffers say.

Trebek, Burton photos courtesy studios
Speculation is that 96-year old announcer
Johnny Gilbert will not return.


of Alex Trebek's passing this week hit millions of us faithful viewers hard. He's been part of the family since the 1980s when he took over the job as the show's second host.
Although Trebek wasn't known for hyperbole or displays of emotion, he was visibly touched by a several contestants' comments in the past few weeks. One wrote for his final "Jeopardy" answer: "What is 'We love you, Alex'?" Another said he learned English while watching "Jeopardy" on his grandfather's knee.
I MET Trebek a couple times --  at a TV sweeps week and again at a fundraiser, both in Los Angeles. Then there we were -- front and center -- hearing Johnny Gilbert's familiar "This IS Jeopardy." Speculation is that the show's 96-year old announcer will retire now that Alex is gone. For his replacement, actor, children's TV host LeVar Burton seems to be leading the pack. 
He'd be a winning replacement, with his pleasing voice, genuine nature and stellar reputation in the business.
LeVar Burton is our pick for next
"Jeopardy Host." He is known for "Star
Trek," an imaginative children's show
and his debut "Roots" performance.
 MY "JEOPARDY" days began when the show debuted in 1964.  I was a high school freshman, and I watched with my grandmother Olive. She loved language, game shows, and critiqued the contestants. She thought actor Art Fleming handsome.  Indeed. The first "Jeopardy" host stayed with the show until its 1975 hiatus. It was briefly revived, then shelved in 1978.
LONG TIME HOST Trebek, was a reporter in his native Canada in 1984 -- covering everything from horse races to politics -- when creator Merv Griffin asked him to come on board. That was 20 years after Gran and I first blurted out answers and played that catchy theme on the piano. 

WE'LL MISS Trebek but are thankful to have spent several days at Sony Pictures Studios on the "Jeopardy" set, witnessing behind-the-scenes action of the hit game show. Trebek's grace, sincerity and kindness were what kept the show's ratings high and his reputation as a "nice guy" solid.

Fun travel tips, cruising, hotels, nature pieces, at whereiscookie

Photo right: Ken Jennings with Alex Trebek. Jennings earned over
a million dollars on the popular show.

  "Jeopardy" provided a departure from traditional quiz shows by asking contestants to give answers in the form of a question.
Cookie waited patiently with other fans
for a guide to take viewers to the studio.
Bottom right, she takes a spin on the set.
Johnny Gilbert works the house during
several breaks in "Jeopardy" filming.

JOHNNY GILBERT is a story in himself, a legendary game show host with more than 65 years in show biz. It was fun watching him work the house, joking with the audience during breaks for advertising. We watched make-up artists touch up the contestants and Alex joked with the audience, too, and a couple times crossed the stage to help contestants who were having trouble with the signaling device. Since several shows are taped during a day, we observed costume changes -- on both Alex and winners who advanced to more games.

We also enjoyed watching a panel of judges and consultants checking answers. Twice during our visits, Alex adjusted a contestant's score.   
MY GRAM WOULD be thrilled to know that with over 
6,000 episodes aired, "Jeopardy" has won a record 31 daytime Emmy awards and is the only daytime game show to be honored with the prestigious Peabody Award. In 2013, the program was ranked No. 45 on TV Guide's list of the 60 greatest shows in American television history. "Jeopardy" has also gained a worldwide following and has been the subject of hilarious sketches on "Saturday Night Live."
Because the show is taped weeks in advance, viewers will continue to see Trebek, until his last episode airs Christmas Day.
A touching eulogy was delivered Monday, before the show began, by its executive producer, Mike Richards:
"Today we honor Alex Trebek. For over three decades he brought integrity, humor and intelligence to his duties as host of "Jeopardy!" He will be in our hearts forever." 
Amen, and RIP, dear Alex.     

UP NEXT: While we're in a California frame of mind, we're stopping by the central California coast's elephant whale rookery near San Simeon. Thousands of these playful, enormous creatures return to the protected environment of the rookery each year.  We caught them recently on our way down the coast from San Francisco to San Diego.  Join us and remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at nature, travel, family and the arts. Please share the links you enjoy at:



  1. Baltimore Jeopardy JunkiesNovember 14, 2020 at 11:46 AM

    Nice tribute to a wonderful, bright light of a brilliant mind, especially in these dark days. We'll be watching him these last precious shows. Thanks for the info.

  2. LeVar Burton is a wise and wonderful choice. I'm hoping you're right about this. (You usually are.) Enjoy your posts and this one is special.

  3. Tulsa "Jeopardy" JunkiesNovember 17, 2020 at 10:21 AM

    Isn't it remarkable that Alex worked right up to the last week of his life? Testimony to tenacity, dedication and professionalism. Nice piece.

  4. We follow "Jeopardy" and your travel blogs....looking forward to seeing you back on the international roadways and airways, trains, boats and buses, once we are past COVID. Meanwhile, so long Alex. Thanks for the memories and a wonderful run.