The Foote Files: This… Is… Jeopardy!
Happy 48th Birthday, Jeopardy! On this date, March 30, 1964, Jeopardy premiered on the NBC Television Network and to this day is going stronger than ever!
As many of you know, the premise of the game is simple: guess the question that goes with a given answer. Each game has categories with different hidden answers worth various amounts of money. Three contestants compete in each episode. There are two rounds, with the second round having more money involved, called “Double Jeopardy.” The final round, “Final Jeopardy”, is only one answer where contestants could wager all or nothing of whatever winnings they had at that juncture. The contestant with the most money at the end of the show won and was invited back to the next show, as long as he or she kept winning each day.
The original host of Jeopardy was Art Fleming. Fleming had an illustrious career in 5,000 hours of television shows and 48 motion pictures. Merv Griffin, who created Jeopardy and Wheel Of Fortune, discovered Fleming in a commercial for the old TWA Airlines. He became famous for the go-to person for any kind of trivia. I remember watching this show and when someone didn’t get the right question, he would say, “Ohhh, so sorry!!!”
The announcer on this version was Don Pardo, a legendary NBC announcer. Don joined NBC in 1944 as a staff announcer on the NBC Radio Networks. He was also a war reporter for NBC Radio during World War II. Don is still active today as the announcer on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
In 1984, Jeopardy went into syndication with Alex Trebek as emcee and executive producer and he has remained with the show since. Trebek is Canadian-American who got his start hosting a show in Canada called Music Hop. Most of his career has been as the emcee of various game/quiz shows. He also appears in commercials for Colonial Penn Life Insurance.
In the DFW area, Jeopardy was sold to KXAS Channel 5. I tried to acquire the show for KXTX Channel 39 in 1985 when KXAS did not renew it after Year 1 but it was only off the air in the market for 4 months before KXAS renewed it. WFAA Channel 8 the show for years during the 1990’s until 2005, when the show moved to CBS11. Today the show can be seen weekdays at 11am on CBS and encore episodes can be seen at 6pm on our sister station TXA21. The show is distributed by our sister company, CBS Television Distribution, and Sony Pictures Television, the company that purchased Merv Griffin Enterprises, the original owner of the show.
The show also aired for a short time in prime on ABC in 1990 with Trebek as host. It also had a cable network run on VH1 with Jeff Probst as host from 1998-2002.
See you next time. Have a wonderful weekend.
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