To win an episode of “Jeopardy!” – or, even better, multiple episodes of the popular quiz show – you need several factors. You need to be smart. You need the questions to go your way. Also, having a few “Double Jeopardy!” questions come your way certainly doesn’t hurt.
However, you need something else. Legendary “Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek talked about this during a May 2012 interview with Yahoo! News.
And, it might come as a shock to many people to know that the long-time host of the popular quiz show didn’t rank intelligence as the most important factor in having success on “Jeopardy!”
Trebek shared his thoughts on the matter after Tim Molloy asked:
“We saw recently that some people who are considered very intelligent can’t necessarily translate that intelligence to ‘Jeopardy.’ Thomas Friedman is thought of as a great intellectual, but didn’t do particularly well on the show. Why does intelligence not always translate to the format?”
The reason for this, according to what Alex Trebek had to say prior to his death in November 2020, being successful on the popular game show requires more than just intelligence. To be successful on “Jeopardy!” contestants need to have an understanding of the show’s “rhythm” as well as its “format.”
“I don’t think it’s a question of intelligence not translating to that format, ” Trebek reportedly said. “I think it’s a question of the contestants – in this case the Power Players – not being familiar enough with our format and our rhythm to be able to perform very well at that time.”
‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Said Contestants Would Have Done ‘Better’ With Work
According to the “Jeopardy!” host, many players are able to learn the skills that could lead to success on the show.
“But if we were to have had them for a little while, working with them and perhaps practicing with them, they would have done much better,” Alex Trebek reportedly shared.
It was the unique answer-question format of the game show that caused many people to struggle when on the show. “
“It’s just completely alien to them,” Trebek said of the “Jeopardy!” formant. “They’re used to asking questions and getting an answer. We give answers and they have to come up with a question. And looking at the categories sometimes, they’re a little mystified.:
There was an example of a famous “Jeopardy!” contestant who learned how to be successful on the game show after some practice. One individual who learned how to play the quiz show was journalist Chris Wallace, according to Alex Trebek.
But once they get into it – Chris Wallace was a perfect example. Once he got into the rhythm of it, the signaling button always works a lot better and you relax and you enjoy yourself,” Trebek once said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”