By Emma Kaden
A 2014 Guinness World Record for “most gameshow episodes hosted by the same presenter,” a 2016 Guinness World Record for the most game show episodes produced, and a 2017 Guinness World Record for the longest career as a game show announcer for the same show—all these achievements have one thing in common: they originated with the game show Jeopardy!.
The iconic game show, created by Merv Griffin and hosted by Alex Trebek, is filmed in Burbank, California and has been on the air for a whopping 54 years. However, Trebek has announced there is less than a 50 percent chance he will return to the show after his contract ends in 2020. This may come as a surprise to some Americans, but devoted Jeopardy! viewers may be aware of the most plausible cause for his departure: Trebek will be 80 when his contract expires. Not only that, but he underwent brain surgery a few months ago after a fall in October 2017.
Why is this important? Because Jeopardy! has been an American cultural phenomenon for more than half a century, and Trebek has hosted it since the beginning of its daily syndication run in 1984. Seeing one of his two recommended picks for a new host, L.A. Kings play-by-play announcer Alex Faust and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates, reading clues behind the famed podium, might shake up a lot of viewers.
Since its inception, Jeopardy! has heavily impacted American culture. It has inspired PowerPoint study sessions in schools across the country, and playing the theme music after asking someone a question always provides comic relief. Additionally, the answer-question format of the trivia game show has become so normalized in American culture that it has taken over informal trivia sessions throughout the United States.
However, perhaps it is time we embrace change, not just on one of America’s favorite game shows, but in America itself. The United States has radically transformed from the country the Founding Fathers had envisioned, and it is time to reclaim the ideals that America was founded upon. Yes, things will change, but just like Jeopardy!, creating change won’t erase the lengthy history already in place.
This long-running gameshow may be a harbinger of American cultural and political change. What is… Jeopardy!?