‘Jeopardy!’ Icon Alex Trebek Explained Why He Turned Down an Invitation to ‘Dancing with the Stars’

by Samantha Whidden

He was one of the most iconic TV game show hosts ever, so why didn’t Jeopardy! legend Alex Trebek make an appearance on the hit ABC dancing competition series Dancing With the Stars?

In a 2012 interview with The Washington Post, the Jeopardy! star reveals he did receive an invitation to make an appearance in Dancing With the Stars’ famous ballroom. Unfortunately, he had to pass on the opportunity because he wasn’t sure he could actually handle it – health-wise.

Due to his 2007 heart attack and the several operations on his back as well as his shriveled ACL and cartilage in his knees, the Jeopardy! long-time host says he just had to pass up on the opportunity. 

Former Dancing With the Stars Host Refuses to Host Jeopardy! 

Following the death of Alex Trebek in November of 2020, CBS reached out to a list of people the network felt would be great guest hosts of Jeopardy! Among them, was not former Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron. 

When asked if he would say yes to hosting Jeopardy! after his stint on Dancing With the Stars, Bergeron admits that he has “no urge” to host TV series anymore. “I feel like I’ve done it, I’ve done every format you can imagine, from talk shows to quiz shows,” Tom explains. “Whatever, dance shows, clip shows, I’ve done them.”

Tom also shares who he thinks would be a great host of Jeopardy! “I would love to see LeVar Burton or Danica McKellar, who’s a friend and is brilliant and extremely charismatic. And LeVar, I think would be a great choice – someone who could bring a different kind of look and feel to [Jeopardy!]”

Tom only request Jeopardy! hosts – no “65-year-old white guy “who is pretty much done anyway.” Bergeron also recalls the time he was on Celebrity Jeopardy!  And how he told Alex his buzzer wasn’t working. Trebek’s response, “We hear that a lot.” 

Alex Trebek made his debut on Jeopardy! In December of 1981. He went on to host the game show for nearly 30 years. He received the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show host eight times. In March of 2019, Trebek announced to fans that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer after experiencing persistent stomaches. He fought for more than a year and a half before passing away from the disease last fall. 

Bergeron describes the late Jeopardy! host as a brave man and praised his honesty and transparency during the whole cancer fight.

Tom adds, “In the midst of his struggle, to be that honest, to reach out to other people who might have been in pain and to try to help them through his own experience. He deserves the most for how he dealt that disease.”