EXCLUSIVE: ‘Jeopardy’ host speaks with WREG behind the scenes

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LOS ANGELES — WREG recently went behind the scenes of the hit show “Jeopardy” to see how the show comes together.

About 1,800 miles from Memphis, in Culver City, California near Los Angeles, is the shiny set filled with monitors and panels of the ever-popular quiz show “Jeopardy.”

You no doubt know the theme music and the voice of announcer Johnny Gilbert setting the stage for each show. “Jeopardy” is a show that takes a team of writers, researchers, producers, directors and production crew to make TV magic.

And you could say the past 12 months have been magical for “Jeopardy.” Longtime and beloved quiz master Alex Trebek sat down with WREG to talk about what makes “Jeopardy” work.

“Jeopardy has been very popular on television reality program for many years,” Trebek said. “However, having said that, the last year it seems more and more people are gravitating toward our program.”

 Alex has hosted “Jeopardy” since it premiered in 1984, totaling almos,t 8000 episodes. But it was 32 episodes last year with a super contestant that became must-see TV.

“And it didn’t hurt that we had a champion named James Holzhaurer, who set the television world on fire,” Trebek said.

That fire ignited even more when Holzhauer recently went head-to-head against previous champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter for “Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Time.”

“And then we follow that up with our Greatest of All Time Tournament with the three champions playing for a million dollars,” Trebek said. “So, all of these elements seem to conspiring and helping us maintain our position as the number one quiz show on the air.”

“Jeopardy,” in its current format, has been on the air for an amazing 36 years.

“A lot of the success of ‘Jeopardy’ is rooted in the simplicity of the format. It’s just questions and answers turned upside down with a wide range of categories,” said “Jeopardy” producer Harry Friedman.

I see them for the first time when Johnny introduces me,” Trebek said. “‘Here’s the host of ‘Jeopardy’, then I say alright you’re the contestants and that’s when I get to know them. It’s a very short relationship. It’s like a first marriage.”

On this day one of the contestants is Londyn Lorenz. She’s a sophomore at Ole Miss competing in the Jeopardy College Championships. You’ll see her on Jeopardy in a few months.

“I love Jeopardy.  It’s my favorite. I actually record it. It’s amazing,” Lorenz said. “I’ve had like dreams about it.”

It’s during commercial breaks that Trebek leaves his lectern to answer all kinds of questions from the audience.

But when the lights come back on, it’s the always poised Trebek putting the three contestants to the test as they battle it out on the quiz show that always seems to have the right answers for its fans.

“But it’s a lot of fun because it’s new, and there’s excitement with newness,” Trebek said. “And because I don’t want it be old hat. I don’t want the viewers to feel this is just that same old dull stuff. This is fresh. This is nice.”

After “Jeopardy” airs this afternoon, stay tuned to see the exclusive interview with Alex Trebek on the news at 4.

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