Long before he was a game show legend and Jeopardy! icon, Alex Trebek was the host of a low-budget music show in Canada. Called Music Hop, Trebek said the show didn’t always go as planned, which would require him to step in and do whatever was necessary to keep things moving. Sometimes that meant singing.
Time asked Trebek in 2010 about his early years and how they prepared him for Jeopardy! The former host said one of the best learning experiences was on the variety show Music Hop. That’s because everything could fall apart at any moment.
“Music Hop in 1963 was my first hosting job of a variety program. I also hosted a high school quiz show called Reach For The Top for the CBC in Canada. That was good training for all my future hosting work in game shows and quiz shows because you had to be fast, you had to make judgments quickly, and the right judgments in regards to a response given by a contestant or a student. So that was good training,” he told the magazine.
“But Music Hop was neat in many ways. It was a precursor, if you will, to Shindig and Hullaballoo, which came later in the United States.
“… And that was, in many ways, a scary proposition because on a number of occasions, I was asked to sing. I’m not a singer. And if problems arose, as they did on a couple of occasions, I had to adlib to get out of a difficult situation.”
Trebek died of pancreatic cancer in October. The show still hasn’t chosen a replacement for the beloved host. Aaron Rodgers is currently guest hosting the show this week. Next week, Anderson Cooper of CNN will take over.
LeVar Burton Says He’s Best Suited for Jeopardy! Job
While Jeopardy! producers haven’t named a replacement for Trebek, LeVar Burton says there is no one “better suited” for the job than him. He’s campaigned hard recently to Entertainment Weekly.
“I don’t believe there is anyone out there who is better suited for this job than me,” Burton told EW. “And I will go to my grave believing that.”
And the former Star Trek star and Reading Rainbow host has a lot of support. So far, more than 228,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to ask Jeopardy! producers to install Burton as host. More are signing every day. As a matter of fact, Burton says he wants the job as badly as they want him to have it.
“They want this for me as much as I want it for me, I believe, because it makes so much sense to them too,” Burton said. “Love of the franchise, check. Loves knowledge and curiosity, check. I spent 26 years talking directly to people through the camera lens, check. I bring an audience of Gen X-ers and millennials—checkmate!”