As some of you may know, I am a HUGE game show fan.
I have fond memories sitting with my grandmother in the early 1970s watching game shows in the chair with her.
Growing up, I dreamed about being on a game show.
That dream because a reality when I appeared on the game show “Chain Reaction” on the Game Show Network in 2006. While we didn’t win, I had a great time playing the game, and you can still see that episode on reruns on GSN.
Last week, Alex Trebek announced he has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.
Such a shock.
Seeing the news reports and the social media well-wishes were truly inspiring and moving.
My fascination with game shows goes back to those memories of sitting with my grandmother watching these shows when game shows were in their heyday back in the 70s. Back then, Alex Trebek hosting a top-rated game show on NBC called, “High Rollers.”
“High Rollers” featured the “BIG NUMBERS” in the bonus round where players would roll a pair of dice to create number combinations that would remove the digits 1-9. If you were successful and were able to remove all 9 of the BIG NUMBERS you won prizes totaling over $10,000.
The math teacher in me would later love this game as I used it create several probability math lessons around sample spaces for rolling two number cubes. (You had to say “number cubes” because “dice” made it too close to gambling.)
As the host of “High Rollers,” Alex Trebek was the master of the game. He would ask the questions and keep the action moving as contestants rolled the dice. Like any good game show host, Alex let the game be the star along with the contestants. Back in the 1970s, he was developing his craft. You can watchan old episode or two on YouTube and see him at the helm of “High Rollers.”
Alex was clearly a marketable and likable game show host. He holds the dubious distinction of being the only game show host to host three different game shows at the same time on television. In 1991, he hosted, “Classic Concentration” and “To Tell The Truth” on NBC along with “Jeopardy!” in syndication.
But growing up, I had many favorite game show hosts. Some were Gene Rayburn, (Host of Match Game because he reminded me of my Dad.) Peter Marshall because he was the host of Hollywood Squares, and Art Fleming, the original host of Jeopardy!. I also enjoyed watching Allen Ludden and Bill Cullen too.
Art Fleming hostedthe first version of Jeopardy! on NBC from 1965-1974 and again from 1978-1979. Here is a clipof Jeopardy! on YouTube. To me, he was masterful. He had this command of the show and his patented, “The answer is…” would also get you ready to state your response in the form of a question.
Wikipedia states that Art Fleming didn’t like the direction Jeopardy! was going when it was moved from New York to Hollywood during its current iteration when it began filming back in 1983, and thus, Alex Trebek got the hosting duties.
Ironically, Art Fleming passed away from pancreatic cancer.
It goes without saying that many people, including myself, are rooting for Alex Trebek to beat this. No doubt he has a long road ahead of him, but what’s clear is that he is loved and adored by many people.
Jeopardy! is an American institution.
It’s appointment television.
Richard and I enjoy watching Jeopardy! together and playing along to see what we know and what we don’t. And if one of us gets Final Jeopardy! correct, it’s a celebration.
Today, Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek are synonymous.
It’s hard to imagine one without the other. I guess that is why he signed a three-year contract to keep hosting Jeopardy! until 2022. I hope he is still able to do it.
But what Alex Trebek has taught me about my professional legacy is that we could all be so lucky to be that well thought of in our career and make that kind of indelible mark on an industry and culture.
It has me thinking about my own career, where I have left my mark and where I’m still working at leaving it. It has me thinking about the connections I have made and am making to help more people through the work I am doing as a leadership and career transition coach. And in the end, when my own time comes, I will look back on how I have honored my core values of service and connection to help make the workplace more supportive, a little more heart-centered, and grounded in more intentional conversations to get the feedback people need and are hungry for as they create their next advancement opportunity.
What does your professional legacy look like?
If you could change one thing about it, what would that be?
And if you are interested in having a conversation about it, just email me.
I’m curious to learn what “The answer is.”