‘Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek Explained Why There Was More ‘Pressure’ for 2019 All-Star Tournament

by Evan Reier
Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

Over the decades he hosted Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek had presided over a wide variety of specialty weeks and competitions.

The show loves to mix it up, with college and celebrity versions of the show becoming as iconic as a regular week. However, one consistent factor through the years is that it almost always features individuals, rather than teams.

That wasn’t the case in 2019, when the show hosted the “All-Star Games.” The contest featured teams consisting of some of the best players. So when Michael Strahan was first addressing it with Alex Trebek on Good Morning America that year, Trebek made sure he knew the difference.

Strahan prefaces by saying it took 35 years to do an all-star competition, and that’s where Trebek stepped in.

“You forgot to mention one thing,” Trebek answered. “This is not only an all-stars tournament, it’s an all-stars team tournament.”

And, as only Alex Trebek could, he flipped it on Strahan.

“And you know how important it is to be a part of a team,” Trebek also said to Strahan. “Because you feel a responsibility to the other members, you’re not just a solo performer now. If you mess up, it affects your teammates and that’s put a lot of pressure.”

Strahan could only groan and admit that Trebek just nailed his point home.

“He just put pressure on me thinking about that,” Strahan replied. “I feel like a kicker that needs to win the game right now.”

Jeopardy! All-Star Tournament

The legendary Jeopardy! event started in February of 2019. Essentially, the format of the show was that some of the program’s biggest winners would select other past winners to join them.

The opening matchup featured Colby Burnett, Buzzy Cohen and Brad Rutter and their respective teams. Consequently, Rutter’s squad took the opening battle. In Match 2, Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings took a commanding victory over the teams featuring Austin Rogers and Julia Collins.

The top three money-winning squads that didn’t win their rounds were then put into a “wildcard” matchup. Buzzy Cohen and Austin Rogers’ squads were unable to overcome Colby Burnett’s, who won the round and was able to enter the final.

However, Burnett and his teammates’ run ended there. After a dominant showing in Match 1, Brad Rutter’s squad followed that up by beating Burnett and Jennings. The prize? A cool $1 million.