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The Game Show Alex Trebek Wished He Could Have Hosted

Alex Trebek will always be remembered as the host of Jeopardy!, perhaps the most famous game show of all time. And that's as it should be, because while pop culture trends come and go, Jeopardy! — and by extension, Trebek himself — has been a seemingly eternal fixture on TV screens, particularly given how Trebek stayed aboard for almost four decades, becoming a bridge between multiple generations of audiences. Even in his dying months, Trebek continued filming new episodes of Jeopardy — the final one of which will air on Christmas Day, 2020 — while simultaneously working on a memoir. 

Becoming the world's most famous game show host was never his childhood dream, but it certainly grew to become his specialty. Nonetheless, he always remained humble about his celebrity status. In 2014, when asked why he was so great at hosting game shows by USA Today, he responded, "I've been told I had a good public speaking voice, although I've never understood that. But I don't find my voice to be unique or commanding, as Walter Cronkite or Orson Welles or so many other people."

However, while it's hard to argue that Jeopardy! was Trebek's signature role, he was a fixture in game shows for quite some time before that, starting in the sixties with small-time Canadian quiz shows like Reach for the Top and Strategy, neither of which are remembered much today, and continuing to pick up occasional non-Jeopardy hosting gigs or cameo appearances (on programs like Cheers) during his prime. And while there was certainly no gig that could have ever gotten Trebek to leave his Jeopardy! duties behind, there's one other game show that he, by his own admission, would have loved to host.

Alex Trebek expressed interest in hosting a new 'Hollywood Squares'

It's hard to forget Hollywood Squares. From the distinct visual setup, to the celebrity cameos, to the odd questions that keep you up at night — I.E., "Do they have stairs, a ladder, or an elevator, back there, to climb into those squares?" — it's one of the most iconic game shows in TV history, surviving in various forms from the sixties into the 21st century. 

Evidently, Alex Trebek was a fan. Back in 2012, The Hollywood Reporter inquired whether Trebek would ever be interested in hosting more non-Jeopardy! programs, to which he gave a straight answer of, "No, I don't want to host any other TV shows." Understandable, for sure, but Trebek then admitted that Hollywood Squares was the one exception. "I have said that if they brought back Hollywood Squares, I would love to host that," he acknowledged, "because I love asking a question and have someone give a funny response, to which I will laugh. I like that. That's an easy job. I would treasure that job."

Evidently, this wasn't a joke. Two years later, in 2014, Trebek reiterated his interest to USA Today, when they asked him the same question: "I would love for a revival of Hollywood Squares."

As it happens, Trebek did once host Hollywood Squares ... in a sense. Back in the early eighties, before Jeopardy!, he was the presenter for (The New) Battlestarsa show where various celebrities would sit inside triangles, and be asked questions by the host, to which they'd give jokey answers. A pretty obvious ripoff, for sure, though at least it was created by the same guy as the original show, Merrill Heatter. One presumes that Trebek's brief tenure on the series is probably why he later wanted to come back and host the real deal. 

Unfortunately, a true Hollywood Squares revival never came, but if it had, it's easy to imagine that Trebek would have loved being part of it.