A: I tell audiences who come to our tapings that the thing I enjoy most about the show is the 30 minutes I spend onstage with the contestants, because I love spending time with bright people. I hate spending time with stupid people.
I mean, you can’t find any better environment in which to work than hosting a program like “Jeopardy!” It’s the very best kind of reality television.
Q: How do you assess your long run on “Jeopardy!”?
A: There are some individuals who could have been named as host of “Jeopardy!,” and if the show had lasted 36 years (as it has with Trebek), they would be enjoying the same kind of favorable reviews and adulation that I have enjoyed in recent years.
I don’t want to minimize it, but my health situation has contributed to that a great deal, because the pity factor — as I mentioned during the Daytime Emmys — is out there, and people have been so kind, sending prayers and good thoughts and all of that, so I’m not unaware of that. There are a lot of great game-show hosts who have been on television in America over the decades, and a lot of their success depended on the success of the show.
Q: How do you look back at last winter’s high-rated “Jeopardy!: The Greatest of All Time” event?
A: Well, “Jeopardy!” has not only been part of America’s television life for so long, it’s been a part of my television life for a long time. And as I mention to people quite often, we’re always trying to push the envelope and do something a little different, something a little more advanced, either from a technical point of view or from a content point of view.
Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.