Legendary “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek thought he had it made after hosting a season of a game show called “The Wizard Odds.” His confidence was at an all-time high, and the accomplished Canadian broadcaster was starting to make his mark on American television. It only made sense that he would buy a house in Los Angeles. Little did he know, his game show would be canceled after a single season.
“The Wizard of Odds” was the brainchild of another legendary Canadian figure, Alan Thicke. The late actor was best known for his role of Dr. Jason Seaver on “Growing Pains.” But before that came along, he was busy producing game shows.
In 1973, Alan Thicke helped get the short-lived “The Wizard of Odds” game show off the ground. He gave Alex Trebek his big break by making him the host. In a 2015 interview with Howard Stern, the late “Jeopardy!” host talked about his experience with the show.
“They called to cancel the program on the day that I signed the final papers on my first house in Los Angeles. I said ‘Oh my God'” Trebek recalled.
That’s the last call you want to receive in that situation. Especially for someone like Trebek who was a transplant from Canada. He was nearly left stranded with a brand new house and no job to pay for it. Fortunately, Alex Trebek had made a name for himself and quickly found another opportunity.
The following Monday, Trebek was offered the hosting job on a different game show called “High Rollers.” This time, the show was successful, and Trebek’s run lasted four and a half years.
“I’ve been canceled twice and replaced myself twice on network television so it worked out pretty well,” he continued in the 2015 interview.
Late ‘Jeopardy!’ Host And Alan Thicke Were Friends From Trebek’s Time In Canadian TV
When Alex Trebek was working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he hosted a series of different shows. On one of them, he crossed paths with entertainer Alan Thicke.
In an interview with “Access Hollywood” in 2016, the iconic “Jeopardy!” host talked about how Alan Thicke was partly responsible for the success he found in his American television career.
“In the early 1970s, I was working as a staff announcer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto, Canada. And one of my jobs was hosting a daytime talk-variety show called Afternoon. And Alan and his then singing partner, Bryan Russell, appeared as guest performers on that show on a number of occasions.”
Alan Thicke called Trebek a few years later. He had just created a new game show and couldn’t find a host. He offered the job to Alex, and the rest was history.