Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio on August 25, 2002 · 198
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Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio · 198

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Dayton, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 25, 2002
Page:
198
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: :1 mm i 1 BY JAMES BRADY UL VW; W, ; fttii 111 TPEPGFf Born July 22, 1940, in Sudburv. Ontario, Canada. Married to Elaine Callei, 1974-81. Married to Jean Currivan since 1990; one son, Matthew, H, and one daughter, Emily, 9. Television: Includes Music Hop, 1963-64; Reach for the Top, 1966-73; T.G.I.Fn 1973; The Wizard of Odds, 1973-74; High Rollers, 1974-80; Stars on Ice, 1976; Double Dare, 1976-77; The $128,000 Question, 1977-78; Battlestars, 1981-83; Jeopardy!, 1984-; Classic Concentration, 1987-94; Super Jeopardy!, 1990; To Tell the Truth, 199t Fi; Personal: n os: Include Rain Man, 1988; Dying Young, 1991; White Men Can't Jump, 1992; Short Cuts, 1993; Spy Hard, 1996; Charlie's Angels. 2000; Finding Forrester, 2000. F YOU KNOW HOW to play the game, the answer is: Who is Alex Tre-bek? The clue: This man hosts the popular game show Je opardy! The current, syndicated version of the show began in 1 984 with Trebek at the helm, and he's been there ever since. They've done more than 4000 episodes, and their 19th season begins Sept. 2. An earlier NBC version with Art Fleming began in 1964 and ran for 1 1 years. I spoke with Trebek an amiable and urbane Canadian with two degrees in philosophy, a background in television and radio news, and two Emmy Awards when he was in Manhattan recently. With all its success, I wondered if the Jeopardy! folks ever got nervous about that new generation of quiz shows hosted by people like Regis Philbin and Anne Robinson. "No," said Trebek. "It worked to our advantage, enabling us to double our prize money. And we have a syndicated show. Their shows were network and not in head-to-head competition with us. Sometimes we had the lead-in show to them. We're a good lead-in." When Jeopardy! played Radio City Music Hall in New York f Is x n for a sold out week in April, they re ceived 100,000 requests for tickets, The show also draws the celebrities. Jeopar dy! players have included Jodie Foster, Tom Clancy, Kirsten Dunst, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Stephen King, Carol Burnett and Mike Piazza. How did Trebek make the transition from news to showbiz? "I worked for the CBC Canadian Broadcasting Cor poration as a staff announcer, where we reported the news. did the weather, did all c ( t Wliile rival game shows The Weakest Link and Wlie Wants To Be a Millionaire are falling by tiie wayside, Alex Trebek says his Jeopardy lis bigger than ever. sorts of things," he said. "And I hosted a variety show and had people on like Lome Michaels and Alan Thicke before they left for the States. NBC was trying a new show called The Wizard of Odds, and Alan suggested that I audition." The Wizard job and other hosting assignments eventually led to Jeopardy! "God knows, I didn't start out to do a quiz show," said Trebek, "but it's a show that I really enjoy doing. Someone once said, 'If you find something you do well and like doing it that's fulfillment.'" There are seven full-time researchers and nine writers. Trebek said he used to chip in with ideas but doesn't do much of that anymore. I knew that Jeopardy! often did USO tours and that Trebek himself was honored with the Bob Hope Entertainment Award. With U.S. and Canadian troops in Afghanistan, will Trebek be saddling up? "I've been with the show to Bosnia, Kosovo and Sarajevo," said Trebek. "Last year, we went to the DMZ in Korea. If the USO asks, we'll continue going out and doing shows." It For more on Alex Trebek, visit www.paraae.com r and click on "In Step With." Alex Trebek and his family live in LA. and have a place in Central . California, Creston Farms, where they breed and train Thoroughbred horses. Jeopardy! is shot on the old MGM lot in Culver City, which makes for a long drive through LA. traffic for Trebek. "We do five shows in a day three weeks on and three weeks off," he told me. Trebek also does a good deal of charity work. He's the host of the National Geography Bee in both the U.S. and Canada and is an active supporter of Literacy Volunteers and the United Negro College Fund. As a former newsman, is he pleased that a lot of newspeople watch his show? "Yes," said Trebek. "At some stations, they have contests the news guys against the sports and weather guys. And you know who usually wins? The weather men and women." "Why?" I asked. "I think because, to do the weather, you have to have taken a course of study," said Trebek. "But you don't study doing the news, and you don't study sports." PAGE tS AUGUST 25, 2002 PARADE MAGAZINE

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