The ‘Jeopardy’ Categories Host Alex Trebek Loves Seeing on the Quiz Board
Head writer Michele Loud revealed some categories the quiz master particularly enjoys.
Alex Trebek starts the day early
In an interview with Vulture, Loud shared that Trebek shows up on set bright and early on days they tape the show.
“He comes in on the mornings of tape days very early, at around six, and reads the paper and answers mail and does things like that,” the Jeopardy head writer revealed. “And at 7:30 he’s given the set of five games we’re taping that day. He reads them over, and if there are things he doesn’t know how to pronounce, he looks it up himself. If he can’t find it, he asks us to help him.”
While the quiz master is an aficionado on a myriad of subjects, there are a few that can stump him.
“If there are things he’s not as familiar with — current pop culture, typically — he may ask us about it,” Loud said with a laugh, adding that the subjects he’s not well-versed on are rare. “He knows a lot. He’s very sharp, he does his homework, and he’s self-sustaining. Occasionally he’ll ask for a clue to be rewritten slightly because it sounds a little awkward to him. But he typically doesn’t have too many notes for us.”
‘Jeopardy’ clues that don’t make it to the board
Loud revealed that while writers can come up with many great ideas for clues, there are times when they can’t get all the information they need to put them on the air.
“Sometimes you find a great fact and you simply can’t source it,” she told Vulture. “If you just can’t find it, then unfortunately a great fact has to go away. Sometimes things are too good to be true.”
The writers will often put themselves in the position of the contestants on the show as well as the viewers playing along at home when weighing their options.
“If none of the writers can correctly answer it, we feel like, ‘Well, how can anyone else have heard of it?'” Loud explained. “If it’s too obscure for all of us in the room, there’s no point in asking it. We’re not out to stump the contestants and the people at home. That’s not an interesting show. There’s always something better that you can write about.”
Favorites of the ‘Jeopardy’ host
Trebek has previously been vocal about his distaste for a certain strategy some contestants utilize on Jeopardy, where they will jump from clue to clue rather than going in the order of the category. Loud understands why the game show host isn’t a fan of the tactic.
“Personally, I’m with Alex,” she admitted. “I would prefer players to start at the top of the board because we write the categories so that they flow from top to bottom, and they get harder as you go down the board. There’s a nice rhythm that happens when you play the category in order, and a lot of the time the game feels choppy if it’s not executed in that way.”
When it comes to categories themselves, Trebek has a few favorites of his own.
“He personally loves categories about geography, movies, or movies about geography,” Loud revealed, adding that regardless of the topic, Trebek is a master at his craft. “He really makes his job look so easy that I think sometimes people don’t appreciate how good he is. Hosting this show is much, much harder than you think.”