‘Jeopardy!’: How Might Alex Trebek Do As a Contestant on the Quiz Show?

It’s an interesting thought to consider: How would Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek do as a player on his own game show?

Would the popular television personality crush it and perhaps even break Ken Jennings’ unbeaten record? Or would he barely make it through one game?

His fans’ thoughts on the topic vary wildly, but all agree: Trebek could easily make it onto the program.

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek | Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

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Alex Trebek spoke about 1 contestant’s incredible strategy

James Holzhauer made his unforgettable mark on Jeopardy! in 2019 when he embarked on a 32-game run on the program. The Las Vegas resident came very close to breaking 2004 Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings’ record of 74 games and a win of $2.5 million. Holzhauer, once all was said and done, took home $2.4 million, just $60,000 away from Jennings’ record.

‘Jeopardy!’ champ James Holzhauer

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Alex Trebek, speaking of Holzhauer on Good Morning America in 2019, said of the standard-setting player, “It’s exciting, I watch it every night. He has forced me to change a view that I’ve had for many years … that the Ken Jennings record will never be broken.”

Even more impressive about the Illinois-born Holzhauer was that his accomplishment of nearly breaking Jennings’ record would have happened in half the number of games as Jennings. This is almost entirely thanks to Holzhauer’s talents as a professional sports gambler.

“He has no weaknesses … he has a strategy, he’s a gambler,” Trebek said.

Trebek’s recent update on his health

In his most recent update to fans in July 2020 regarding his health, Trebek appeared in a videotaped message on the game show’s Instagram account looking rested and with a new goatee. He spoke of his continuing treatments for the pancreatic cancer with which he was diagnosed in 2019, as well as of his upcoming memoir, The Answer Is. . . : Reflections On My Life.

“I’m doing well,” Trebek said in the video. “I’ve been continuing my treatment, and it is paying off — though it does fatigue me a great deal. My numbers are good; I’m feeling great. In fact, during the break from the studio I even wrote a book that will be coming out July 21st.”

The Canadian-born host is looking forward to the new season of the classic answer-and-question show. “I can’t wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new [37th] season in September,” Trebek said. “Meanwhile, my wish for all of you: Stay safe.”

How Trebek would do as a ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant

As for how Alex Trebek might have performed as a Jeopardy! contestant, one Redditor brought up a confession the host made in his 1990 publication, The Jeopardy Book.

“Even 30 years ago, Alex admitted that his buzzer reflexes were insufficient for him to be competitive,” the fan said. “I doubt he’s gotten better at that since.”

Another Reddit comment said, “I think he’s smart enough to get on the show, but I don’t think he would win a game.”

“Sure he’s very smart, but once you hit a certain age the buzzer skills really diminish. I don’t think there have been many 80 year old champions,” said another Jeopardy! fan on Reddit.

Finally, one more comment on the social media site added insight to the conversation. “Alex answered this when I went to one of the tapings earlier this year,” the fan stated. “He said that he used to know about two-thirds of the answers back in the day but now it’s less because of the newer pop culture references.”

It’s fun to think about Alex Trebek as a contestant for a moment, though, isn’t it?

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