Alex Trebek in Jeopardy?

Jeopardy! (Photo: Jeopardy.com)
Jeopardy! (Photo: Jeopardy.com)

Alex Trebek threatened to leave Jeopardy! after being forced to re-tape a Kids Week segment. Here’s a better idea: get rid of Kids Week.

The Sony Hack™ has caused a great deal of strife and divisiveness within the Hollywood community in recent days. No, I’m not talking about the chilling free speech implications of The Interview getting shelved—I’m talking about a leaked email where Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek indicated that he has had it officially. Apparently there was some kid who didn’t get to play Final Jeopardy because she finished in the red and, according to a letter the kid’s mother wrote to producers, Trebek did not adequately console the child. This is my favorite piece, as excerpted from the RadarOnline article:

“If he had taken the time, he would have known, like you do, that my daughter is not a sore loser, and does not become emotional solely over losing a game,” the woman wrote. “She was upset about not being able to completely play the game to the end.”

Although I would like to dig into the semantic argument of how being upset about not being able to complete the game after not qualifying for the finals is different from becoming emotional solely over losing a game, I would rather make this argument: GET RID OF KIDS WEEK.

There is no value to Jeopardy! Kids Week. Unlike the Teen Tournament1, Kids Week features five one-off games for the tween set. As an adult, there is no playing along because the clues are way too easy. For the kids, they are doing themselves a disservice playing on the show because they are burning off their eligibility. According to the show’s rules, “You are not eligible to be a contestant on Jeopardy! if you have appeared on any version of the show with Alex Trebek.” I get it, you get to be on TV and maybe win some cash, but do you really think $7,001 will cover your college expenses 10 years from now?

I am not the biggest Trebek fan, but he does have a point when he indicates the producers leave him hanging in situations like this. Remember when this happened last year:

The show, particularly Trebek, caught hell for this incident, even though that ruling was completely justified. I mean, I guess Trebek didn’t have to rub it in when the eventual champ spelled “emancipation” correctly, but did the kid in the middle honestly expect that he had a chance of winning?

Believe me, I get it that kids have a sense of “I WANNA PLAY!!!” when it comes to game shows. Part of my 18th birthday celebration involved trying to get through the contestant phone line for Who Wants to be a Millionaire. But this backstage drama surrounding an aspect of the show that isn’t all that entertaining to begin with should be dumped.

I stand with Trebek.

  1. Which I also skip during the regular season  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv