Alex Trebek and Jeopardy! are riding a wave of success entering their 29th season. The show won its 30th Emmy earlier this year, and Trebek and Jeopardy! received the 2012 Peabody Award, one of the most selective and prestigious awards in the industry. Trebek remains one of television's most iconic figures - entertaining millions of viewers worldwide and hosting more than 6,000 episodes since Jeopardy! made its syndicated debut in 1984. He has won 5 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host, and, in 2011, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
A long-time USO supporter, Trebek will travel around the world this season to military bases to audition prospective contestants for the show's first-ever "Salute to the Military" competition. Since 1987, Trebek has participated in 12 USO tours meeting America's men and women in uniform. "We think it's important to recognize our U.S. servicemen and women for their courage and unwavering dedication to this country. We're excited about recognizing our Armed Forces with a competition of their own."
Born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Trebek earned two degrees in philosophy from the University of Ottawa. Interested in a broadcasting news career, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), Canada's premier network, where he covered national news and special events for radio and television. With the growing popularity of game shows, he segued into the role of host. Trebek was first noticed by American viewers in 1973 when he hosted the NBC game show "Wizard of Odds." After several other hosting roles, Trebek was chosen as host of Jeopardy! He was a hit with viewers and quickly became a pop culture icon. He has been honored with a coveted star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the prestigious Canadian Walk of Fame in Toronto, making him one of only a handful of people honored by both the United States and Canada.
Regarding his long-running career, Trebek said, "What's not to love about working for a show like Jeopardy!? It's a great format and continues to evolve with new clues, contestants and competitions." He added, "It's an honor to work on a show that rewards knowledge. You can't beat that."
Trebek remains impressed with the quality of the contestant pool and believes it's growing more diverse due to the success of online testing. Since online testing began in 2006, more than 1.3 million fans of all eligible ages have registered to take it. While on stage, Trebek aims to create as soothing of an environment as possible for the contestants. "I want everyone to perform at their very best," he said. "It's not my job as host to distract them from the game. I want the contestants, as well as our viewers at home, to see me as a supportive presence."
Throughout the years, Trebek has traveled extensively with the show, delivering clues from some of the world's most spectacular destinations including Southeast Asia, Peru, Israel, Japan and his native homeland of Canada. "I really enjoy taking our viewers to some of the world's most important historic and cultural sites such as the Dead Sea or Machu Picchu," Trebek said. "The clues reveal so much about the country, its culture and what makes these places so unique. I'm looking forward to some of the even more far off places that I'll be recording clues from this year."
In addition to his hosting duties, Trebek has a long-standing commitment with numerous charities and educational organizations. With World Vision, he has traveled to many Third World countries taping reports on the group's efforts on behalf of children around the world. He has traveled with his family to Zambia where he adopted a village and helped build a school, three homes for teachers and a medical facility.
Trebek is also committed to education. He regularly hosts the National Geographic Bee and has served as host of the National Geographic World Championship. He also serves on the board of the National Geographic Society Education Foundation.
Trebek and his wife, Jean, live in Studio City, Calif. Their daughter, Emily, is a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University. Matthew, their son, is a senior at Fordham University in New York.