Alex Trebek was the face of “Jeopardy!” And at 92 years old, Johnny Gilbert is still the long-running game show’s voice. Every episode, without fail, Trebek walked out on stage, and the first words out of his mouth were those of thanks to his longtime announcer.
The loyal duo spent nearly four decades working together on the show. But alas, all good things must come to an end. In a loss that is hard to overstate, Alex Trebek, the iconic host of “Jeopardy!” passed away in November of 2020. Johnny Gilbert suddenly had a decision to make. Does he stick around to usher in a new era of the show? Or does he pass the torch?
Much to the comfort of fans coping with the loss of their favorite host, Gilbert stayed on. Those who have followed “Jeopardy!” recently know that the show is rotating through a series of guest hosts. And this marked a major change for the longtime announcer, who was accustomed to Trebek and Trebek alone.
“It’s not easy for me because I worked with Alex for 37 years, and I never thought of anybody replacing him. Nobody can do it like he did it, you know,” Gilbert told AP TV.
Now, as the show moves into production on its next season, Gilbert had another hurdle in front of him. Much ado has been made about who “Jeopardy!” will select as the new permanent host. And it begs the question, will they move on to another announcer as well?
Executive producer Mike Richards, who himself guest-hosted the show and can be seen singing Johnny Gilbert’s praises above, spoke on the announcer’s future.
“Johnny will be the announcer of ‘Jeopardy!’ as long as he would like to be the announcer of ‘Jeopardy!'” he said.
The Prolific Career of ‘Jeopardy!’ Johnny Gilbert and the Legacy of TV Show Announcers
As Mike Richards touched on in his tribute to the consummate announcer of “Jeopardy!,” Gilbert is among the best in the business. As such, he has appeared in or announced on nearly 60 different productions in his time.
The sheer number of episodes that he has contributed to is staggering. On “Jeopardy!” alone, Gilbert has given his voice to over 8,300 of them. And it certainly seems as if there are more to come. Interestingly, his extremely long run on the show isn’t entirely out of the ordinary. There is precedent for TV show announcers working into their twilight years.
“Saturday Night Live” fans may recall Don Pardo, who continued announcing the show until he was 96 years old. Does Gilbert have another four years on “Jeopardy!” in him? Only time will tell.