• Jason Howell

Alex Trebek's Other Game Shows



Alex Trebek is and will always be best known as the host of Jeopardy. And whoever ultimately succeeds him will have very big shoes to fill.


It’s hard to imagine Alex Trebek anywhere else but Jeopardy, but if you’re a fan of the Game Show Network or Buzzr, you may have noticed that Alex Trebek has hosted other game shows. In fact, Alex Trebek has a history of hosting different shows, which are worth checking out, whether you’re a game show fanatic or a “Trebekie!”


Here are a few highlights of Alex Trebek’s hosting gigs:


The Wizard of Odds (1973)


The Wizard of Odds is worth noting in this article as it was Alex Trebek’s first American game show, after hosting a few shows in Canada.


On the show, Alex as “The Wizard” would select contestants from the audience and ask them questions based on statistics for cash and prizes. The person with the most correct answers would go on and pick prizes hidden behind windows that were either open or locked. The person could stop at any time and keep their prizes, but if they selected a locked window, they lost everything they had accumulated.


Now before you go trying to find this show on-demand, bear in mind that recordings of the series were lost due to an old network practice of wiping, because older video and audio formats were more expensive and storing them was costly. An episode aired on May 20, 1947, survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archive.


Double Dare (1976-1977)


In Double Dare, two competitors were kept apart in isolation booths as Alex presented them a series of up to ten clues for a person, place, or thing. If a contestant thought they knew the answer, they could buzz in, sealing off the other contestant’s booth. If they were wrong, the other contestant got a free guess. If they were right, they won $50 and they could dare their competitor. If the competitor got the first dare right, the contestant would get $100. They could then double dare their competitor for a chance to win $200 if the competitor missed again. The first contestant to $500 won.


The winning contestant would move on to play against the Spoilers, three PhD’s in isolation booths. The contestant would be presented with a subject and eight numbered clues with the ability to reject up to four clues. If the contestant could get four clues past one of the Spoilers, the contestant won $5,000.


Battlestars (1981-1983)


In Battlestars, two competitors worked to “capture” members of a panel of six celebrities. The celebrities were in triangle-shaped booths surrounded by numbered lights. The contestant in control of the board pressed a button which randomly selected a number connected to one of the celebrities. In a manner similar to Hollywood Squares or the current Funny You Should Ask, the celebrity would be asked a question and the contestant would decide whether or not they agreed with the response. If a contestant hit the last point of light surrounding a celebrity, they captured that celebrity. The first contestant to capture three celebrities moved on to the bonus round.


In the original version, the bonus round consisted of the contestant being presented a famous face hidden under numbered titles which were revealed three at first, and then one at a time. But as the round went on, the prize amount decreased.


In the revived version, the match winner played with their captured celebrities answering a series of multiple-choice questions for a chance to win prizes.


Classic Concentration (1987-1991)


Concentration was based on the children’s memory game in which you flip cards over to match pairs. There were multiple incarnations of Concentration with multiple hosts; Trebek’s Classic Concentration was the most recent.


Two contestants would play, trying to match cards which were prizes. If they made the match, the prize went on their board. In order to win their prizes and the game, the contestant would have to solve a rebus puzzle which was slowly revealed as the matches were made and the cards removed.


When a contestant won, they moved on to the Winner’s Circle, playing for one of eight cars displayed in the studio. Contestants would have a time limit to flip over cards matching the car names. If the contestant matched all the cars in the allotted time, they won the last car they matched.


Wheel of Fortune (1980 and 1997)


You read it right! It’s worth noting that Alex Trebek has actually hosted Wheel of Fortune twice! The first time was as a substitute in 1980 for the original host, Chuck Woolery.


Then, in an episode broadcast on April 1, 1997, Alex Trebek hosted Wheel as part of a special April Fool’s prank (followed by a Jeopardy episode hosted by Pat Sajak). In the April Fool’s Wheel, Pat and Vanna were the contestants playing for charity, while Pat’s wife was the guest hostess.


Closing


Alex Trebek’s rich hosting history also includes such as Reach for the Top (a Canadian academic quiz show), High Rollers, The National Geographic Bee, and the 1990-1991 revival of To Tell the Truth.

In addition to his many hosting gigs, Alex Trebek has numerous acting credits, including dozens of appearances in shows and movies as himself as the host of Jeopardy, including Cheers, The Nanny, Seinfeld, and Family Guy.


So what other shows hosted by Alex Trebek have you enjoyed? Share your love with #Trebekie