Scott Hardie | November 9, 2020
Reading the many fine tributes to Alex Trebek this week (this one was my favorite), I keep seeing the same idea being repeated:

A key reason why Trebek was a great host was that he knew that the game itself was the star of the show, not him. He was there to move it along quickly (getting through 61 questions in 23 minutes requires discipline), not to gab at length with the players nor to showboat for the audience. He barely spoke outside of asking questions, and this efficiency was key to his authority and thus to his appeal. I keep hearing that he wasn't really a "host" because he didn't do much hosting. Furthermore, Jeopardy! was invented in the wake of the quiz show scandals of the 1950s when producers fed answers to contestants, so the show by law had to adopt script rules for separation between contestants and show staff including Trebek. Players only got to speak to him briefly when the game ended.

So, in light of all of this, and the talk about replacing Trebek (good luck filling those shoes), it occurs to me: Would the show be better off with two replacements, one host and one quizmaster? Hire one serious person to read the questions and referee the game, and keep this person separated from contestants except on stage. And also hire a more genial comedian type to introduce the show, explain the prizes, interview the contestants, and play to the crowd in general. (Announcer Johnny Gilbert may not want to retire but he's getting up there and then some.) Having two replacements would take some pressure off of each one to be the next Trebek.

What do you think? And what do you think of Trebek's passing?

Samir Mehta | November 9, 2020
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Scott Hardie | November 11, 2020
I felt the same way about the show's celebration of intelligence, which is why I'm a bit dismayed to see this clip making the rounds this week. That's not one of the show's (or Trebek's) better moments.


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