The Windsor Star from Windsor, Ontario, Canada on April 22, 1988 · 23
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The Windsor Star from Windsor, Ontario, Canada · 23

Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Friday, April 22, 1988
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BHST AVAILABLE COPY THE WINDSOR STAR SECTION SSw 255-5544 Fj TOLL FREE 1-800-265-5647 OPtM in K OAliy St HI IATUAOAV TIL H0 FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 1983 Trelbek is W9 answer man By Martie ZadThe Washington Post ANSWER: Handsome and personable 47-year-old host of a most popular television quiz show who has a sign in his office that reads: Ive got all the right answers as long as you have all the right questions. QUESTION: Who is Alex Trebek? He has added humor and changed some rules, taking an old format and moulding It into the second highest-rated show on syndicated television thats still gaining on No. 1 Wheel of Fortune. The popular quiz show is Jeopardy, aired locally on Channel 4 weeknights at 7 p.m. Trebeks easy way with people makes him a personable show host. And his TV smarts have' served the show well, too. Until recently, he was also a producer of this latest version of Jeopardy, now triumphantly moving through its fourth season. Jeopardy is on 209 U.S. stations, up from 191 when this season began. With 99.104-per-cent coverage of the U.S. television audience, it can be seen almost anywhere in the United States and, thanks to cable, most places in Canada. THE CURRENT SHOW is actually a revival of the original Jeopardy, which ran from 1964 to 1975 on NBC and went into syndication in 1974. The show was brought back for the 1978-79 season, with minor revisions. Despite all of that previous exposure, the current rendition has been a hit on television. Reasons for its success, said Trebek, are many. First of all, it is syndicated and can be programmed where the station manager feels it works best. The old network show was on at noon Eastern time. Secondly, its good now because of the success of the original show. We changed the rules. Contestants now cannot ring in until the entire clue has been read. This allows the home viewer to become more involved in the game. There is also a lot more humor involved. I stress this. I want it to be an entertaining half-hour, as populist as possible. As a syndicated show, the station doesnt have to carry it, as was the case when it was on a network. We are informative and influential but must be entertaining, too. In addition, Trebek said, all quiz and game shows are better packaged now thanks to computer-generated graphics. THE HOST ALSO makes the distinction that Jeopardy is a quiz show and not a game show, making it something Comedian lays his crises GARRY SHANDLING deals humorously 4 of a throwback to the quiz shows of the 1950s, which featured very bright people. "We dont think of ourselves as being better than those other shows, he said. "We use a different approach and were perceived as being more difficult. "We are trying to entertain the audience. We happen to do it by enlightening and educating them. We hope that a couple of the answers will stir kids a little so that theyll want to learn more about it, and maybe go to the library and take out a book and read it Weve heard that many teachers are using the Jeopardy format as a learning tool. All of a sudden kids get interested. If it helps teachers teach and kids learn, thats fantastic. Trebek believes that the function of the host is simply to make the show run smoothly, "in such a way that the contestants do their very best within the rules. Anything else he does that interferes with the contestants playing the game should be held against him. After all, the game is the thing. Trebek has mastered the technique. Taping a half-hour show usually takes about a half hour. Flubs requiring retakes are "very rare," the host noted with a satisfied smile. He has taped as many as 74 shows in one day, although the regular schedule calls for five shows a day twice a week, for a total of 23 weeks, with a week off after every three weeks. This gives Jeopardy 46 weeks of new shows a year, up from 39 last year. THE OTHER SIX weeks are reruns, usually tournaments the tournament of champions, as well as the senior and teen tourneys, both innovations made by Trebek. He hopes eventually to add a celebrities tournament. Otherwise he feels the format Is pretty solid and we plan to stick with the winning combination, striving to do it as well as we can, rather than change. After three years as the shows producer, Trebek this season relinquished that role to George Vasburgh. Trebek said he does miss the hands-on role of producing, although Vasburgh seeks his advice on a number of things. "We have brainstorming sessions and talk over many things about the show. Im a problem solver. It gives me satisfaction. I dont like running away from challenges. with life and love in bachelor setting ' A v "" V v ALEX TREBEK has moulded Jeopardy Trebek also hosts Concentration, which, like Jeopardy, is taped two days a week and runs 52 weeks a year. He acknowledged that he had become a terrible workaholic and added that if he continued as producer, youd have to send me home in a Baggie. You should have seen my schedule. Trebek plunked down his dues en route to stardom. After graduating from the University of Ottawa with a degree in philosophy, he worked for 12 years with the CBC, doing national news for radio and television and live coverage of special events in both English and French. HE ALSO WAS involved in several shows not known for their longevity. Fifteen years ago he was hired by NBC for The Wizard of Odds when old friend Alan Thicke, who was developing the show, suggested him for the job. Trebek has been doing this line of work ever since. When Odds was cancelled a year later, he moved on to High Rollers, with Ruta Lee; The $128,-000 Question in nighttime syndication; a variety figure-skating show in Cana By Joyce Millman San Francisco Examiner ALL THESE YEARS, youve been inviting TV characters into your living room. On Its Garry Shandlings Show, the innovative, cheeky, hilarious series on the Fox network (Channel 50 Sunday at 9 p.m.), Shandling invites you into his. Its Garry Shandlings Show, which takes place mostly on a set resembling your basic living-room-dining room kitchenette combination, deals with the life and love crises of an average American single guy. Comedian Shandling, playing himself (or a version thereof), stacks up about as average as they come hes 35-ish, reasonably successful and as insecure as he is egotistical. His sex life isnt half as exciting as his fantasies. And hes strangely preoccupied with grooming his hair. In the series most celebrated wrinkle, the low-key, nervously smiling Shandling (between the nose and the chin, hes Jimmy Carters double) keeps up a running commentary on the action, turning to address the studio audience and viewers Just like George Burns did on the old Burns and Allen Show while his co-stars remain oblivious to the large hole being punched in the fourth wall. The result is an often daffily surrealistic blend of stand-up and sitcom, of the inner life of a character and the outer limits of parody. -J? M ,& -'r. Into TVs second-highest rated show da; Double Dare, and Battlestars, which had two runs. When Battlestar was cancelled for a second time and Trebek thought he had enough of game shows, Merv Griffin asked if he was interested in hosting Jeopardy. Trebek accepted, although he admits he didnt foresee that the show would connect with an audience as it has. Now he thinks it will remain on top for at least several more years. Jeopardy is produced by Merv Griffin Enterprises and distributed by KingWorld. Griffin is still chairman of the board, although he sold his shows to Coca-Cola. Unlike Wheel of Fortune, where Griffin keeps a constant hand, he exerts no control or influence over .Jeopardy, Trebek points out. "He gives us a total free hand. After Jeopardy, Trebek said, he would like to get into production. Its where my future lies. Ive got 27 years in the business. I enjoy it and I feel I do it well. It can be very satisfying. TREBEK IS THOUGHTFUL and iopen when he talks about the machi at viewers feet Its Garry Shandlings Show, created and written by Shandling and former Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel, debuted on the U.S pay cable Showtime in 1986. In 1987, it was voted the best comedy series of the year by the Television Critics Association. Under the Fox-Showtime agreement, Fox has purchased all existing episodes of the series and is airing them weekly, on Sunday evenings. NEW EPISODES of the show will continue to be produced for Showtime; by the middle of 1989, Fox will be able to air those episodes. From its generically perky title to its ridiculous theme song, Its Garry Shan-dlings Show is a mischievous spoof of every sitcom trick in the book. There is, for example, his mother (Barbara Cason), known only as Garrys Mother; a cheery, free-spirited widow, shes like June deaver with a sex life, and, boy, is Garry embarrassed about that Indeed, Shandling is haunted by the "s(word. Hes fated to romantic mishap. The most mundane acts moving into a new apartment, or doing the laundry turn into awesomely complicated disasters. And no wonder: When it comes to women, hes the most neurotic screen male since Woody Allen. . But theres something wholesome about Shandling. Smiling sheepishly as he shows the audience his bewildering array of lucky underwear and rubber gloves, and admitting that he keeps nations of his quiz show, but on the personal side, his comments are shorter and more reserved. Before joining Jeopardy, he built a home in the Hollywood hills, where he lives with his mother. His daughter, Nicky, 21, a production assistant on Jeopardy, recently accompanied him to a charity event for WorldVision, a relief organization he has worked with for some time. He has been to more than a few social functions with actress Susan Sullivan (Falcon Crest), but says simply, "Susan and I are good friends. Trebek said his production schedule and contestant searches take up most of his time. About half the shows 400 contestants a year come from searches conducted around the country. The remaining half are selected and tested In Los Angeles. A recent search In Washington drew 25.000 postcard applications, from which 150 adults were chosen to try out. (Last year, 200 were picked from 30.000 applicants.) Trebek feels the toughest part for aspiring contestants is passing a 50-question written test. They must answer at least 70 per cent 35 of the questions correctly. This eliminates a high percentage. The final hurdle is a 15-minute mock Jeopardy game. "UNFORTUNATELY, said Trebek, "some folks who are very, very bright and score well on the written test are shy individuals, who dont fare well when pitted against two other individuals. They tend to shrink away from the competition, while others are more aggressive. Some people dont have reflexes that are as good as their peers and as a result wont do well in mock-game competition. So we are looking for people who are able to perform under pressure, seem to enjoy competition and who have a bit of a personality. The final selections do become subjective. The average champion started out winning about $7,300. That was up to $7,900 last year and is now about $9,000. The most outstanding contestant ever, in Trebeks view, was a 24-year-old law student from the University of Michigan who a year ago netted $72,-800 without betting anything at all on the final day. He missed only five questions all week. And then there was the mailman from North Hollywood who graduated 240th out of 260 in his high-school class. He qualified for the show and walked off with $39,000 two years ago. Trebek feels the important common denominator is age, or more specifically, reflexes. Its not fair to put a 55-year-old man against a 24-year-old law student ..." said Trebek. "The two chief skills are knowledge and ability to react quickly. them just in case he ever gets a date that goes right, Shandling comes off like the guilt-ridden 13-year-old kid found reading Playboy magazine in the garage. The shows interactive structure contributes to the sense of Shandling being caught in the act His life is, if not an open book, an open copy of TV Guide. And in a wicked (and self-deprecating) sendup of the whole TV-voyeur generation, we watch Shandling watch his life take on the unpredictable, absurd shape of a bad movie-of-the-week. HES TRANSPORTED into flashbacks and dream sequences through riotously tacky special effects, while the shows low-budget props electric golf carts stand in for cars, patios look suspiciously like miniature golf courses suggest adults running amok in a toy universe. Its Garry Shandlings Show is a whimsical and sublimely inventive satire of what would happen if we got our secret wish and life really did turn out the way it does on TV. With Shandling cocooned in his condo playhouse, like Pee-Wee Herman with a libido, the series is an exuberantly silly sendup of the universal impulse to wallow in the pleasant torpor of TV-fuelled daydreams rather than face the hassles and heartache of real relationships, t WHOOPI GOLDBERG, who will perform in Detroit next week, was refused service in a plush Atlanta restaurant at the hotel where she is staying, even though she said she was "clean and not offensive. The comedienne, in Atlanta for performances of her one-woman show, was dressed in blue jeans, tennis shoes and a sportshirt when she tried to t&LX have lunch Tuesday at the Ritz-Carl-ton Atlanta. General manager Darrell fK Sheaffer told her she could not be served unless she GOLDBERG changed Into more formal attire, she said. She told Atlanta radio station WVEE on Wednesday strict dress codes like those at the Ritz-Carl-ton should not apply "when you have the money to spend and youre clean and presentable." Hotel spokesman Gayle MacIntyre said: "The Ritz-Carlton is not in the business of setting social mores or standards. We do have to respect the wishes of our other guests who do come in semi-formal attire. We talked to Ms. Goldberg about it and she understood. MacIntyre added the hotel served lunch to Goldberg in its lobby, not in the restaurant. SARAH MILES, whose starring role in the film Hope and Glory won her wide acclaim, said she has been fired by Londons National Theatre from her role in a production of Shakespeares Cym-beline. But a spokesman for the National Theatre denied the British actress was fired, saying the decision was agreed upon mutually. Newspaper reports said director Sir Peter Hall telephoned Miles and asked her to resign. "Sir Peter had never given me any indication that I was not capable of doing this part," Miles was quoted telling Today newspaper. She said she was dumbfounded by the decision. "He had forced me into this part. My agent wanted me to do more films because I was the flavor of the month. "I did it because I wanted to ease myself back into the theatre, Miles said. TED TURNER pleaded no contest to illegally importing wild mountain lions and was fined $1,-500 in Monti-cello, Fla. Broadcast executive Turner, 49, was also ordered to produce public service announcements for two wild-' life groups. He entered the plea to three counts of importing the animals to his plantation near Monticello without a permit. The charges were filed last month after one of the lions brought from a plantation in South Carolina was hit by a car on a highway. ANTHONY PERKINS, the evil anti-hero of the Hitchcock thriller Psycho, will play two roles, actually different sides of the same person, in his next film, officials said in London. Perkins will play both star characters in a film of Robert Louis Stevensons 1886 tale The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story of a doctor who led a second life in the form of villain Edward Hyde. Perkins, 52, said he will try to play the characters without special makeup because that "would have given him too much of a monstrous warn effect. J "Dr. Jekyll had problems and turned into Mr. Hyde after experimenting with . , drugs, said the actor, adding he did not dabble in drugs himself. PERKINS Perkins co-star will be Glyms Barber, star of a popular British television detective series, Dempsey and Makepeace. Officals said they will begin shooting at an undecided date on location in London and Budapest, Hungary.

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