‘Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek and ‘Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak Swapped Shows for April Fools in 1997

by Matthew Wilson

Celebrate April Fools the “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” way with this fun throwback to one of Alex Trebek’s and Pat Sajak’s greatest pranks. Both Trebek and Sajak felt irreplaceable on their respective shows. But fans got to see a bizarro universe in 1997 where Trebek hosted “Wheel of Fortune” and Sajak hosted “Jeopardy!”

The two game show hosts enjoyed pulling a fast one on unsuspecting fans. Many were probably confused when Trebek walked out as host, alongside Sajak’s wife Lesly. It was just a sign of the strangeness and wackiness to come. For one, longtime hosts Sajak and Vanna White found themselves spinning the wheel during the episode.

Both were playing for charities, giving the entire prank a humanitarian edge.

Then, Sajak got to play the entire prank forward by appearing on “Jeopardy!” that night. Sajak stepped in for Trebek, shocking contestants on the show. The game show host brought his usual brand of sarcasm to proceedings.

Pat Sajak Remembers Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak shared a special connection as long-time hosts of sister game shows. They both became household names, even as other game shows fell by the wayside. Not many hosts can say they had the lasting impact that Sajak and Trebek ended up having.

But these days Sajak remains the last man on the wheel, drawing audiences each day as he has for over 7,000 episodes. Sajak once described his relationship with Trebek as friendly if not exactly the best of friends. They shared a special connection as game show hosts. And they got to know each other and each other’s families well over the decades. They admired each other as professionals.

When Trebek passed away last November, Sajak reflected on the life and career of his fellow game show host. In a heartfelt tribute, he commented on the courage and compassion that Trebek exhibited.

He wrote, “Alex Trebek’s courage, grace, and strength inspired millions and awed those of us who knew him. A tremendous loss for his family, friends, co-workers, and countless viewers. I was honored to be a friend and a part of his professional family for all these years. A very sad day.”

But fans enjoy remembering the good times and the moments that made them laugh. The April Fools prank stands out as one of the more outlandish things that Sajak and Trebek ever pulled. As guest hosts take over “Jeopardy!,” Sajak was there first.