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Like so many people, I have a deep and abiding affection for “Jeopardy!” The venerable game show has been a part of our lives for decades, a warming syndicated presence that crossed all manner of boundaries. It is a generational show, one that grandparents and grandchildren can and do enjoy together.

The passing of longtime host Alex Trebek in November of last year left a void at the program’s venerable podium. Filling the shoes of an icon is a difficult task under any circumstances; studio executives were faced with a nigh-impossible conundrum – find a new face for a show that had the same face for 37 years. There were a lot of options, and yet we somehow wound up – at least initially – with one of the worst of the bunch.

Mike Richards was always the wrong man for the job.

Published in Style

There is perhaps no game show in the history of the medium as universally beloved as “Jeopardy!” For nearly 40 years, we have been welcoming the show into our homes to give us the answers to which we must provide the questions.

Claire McNear, writer for sports/pop culture website The Ringer and many other outlets, has penned a book about the iconic game show. Titled “Answers in the Form of Questions: A Definitive History and Insider’s Guide to Jeopardy!”, the book delves into the inner workings of the show. After months interviewing former contestants, producers, staff and Alex Trebek himself, the book has arrived to question all of your answers about “Jeopardy!”

In a freewheeling Zoom conversation, McNear shares her thoughts on the show, on writing the book and reveals some of the surprises that awaited her on her “Jeopardy!” deep dive.

(Editor’s note: This interview was conducted before Alex Trebek’s passing. Our full review of "Answers in the Form of Questions can be found here.)

Published in Buzz

This multi-generationally beloved game show has been on the air since 1984 in its current incarnation and is viewed by many as the current gold standard in the genre.

What is “Jeopardy!”

For millions of people, “Jeopardy!” is a staple, a shared syndicated moment of intellectual rigor and high financial stakes. A combination of encyclopedic trivia knowledge, quick reaction time and the … courage … of a gambler. For 22ish minutes a day, five days a week – “Jeopardy!” is there.

Claire McNear has been writing about “Jeopardy!” for years. However, her new book “Answers in the Form of Questions: A Definitive History and Insider’s Guide to Jeopardy!” (Twelve Books, $28) delves far deeper than she ever has gone before. Through a wealth of interviews – including over 100 contestants – and significant behind-the-scenes access, McNear offers up a closer examination of the beloved game show than any we’ve seen before.

And count McNear among those who love the show. There’s simply no way that a charming, thoughtful paean such as this one could be composed by someone without a deep and abiding affection for the program. It is a love letter to one of the few remaining monocultural stalwarts, a show that appeals to viewers of all ages and backgrounds.

Published in Buzz

This beloved game show host and television icon has a new book out in which he looks back on a long and storied career.

Who is … Alex Trebek?

The longtime host of “Jeopardy!” has written a memoir, titled “The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life” (Simon & Schuster, $26). It’s a chance to not just celebrate who Trebek has become, but to remember the earlier parts of the journey that led here – and to do so in his own words.

It’s a gentle voyage, to be sure. In a lot of ways, the book offers up its titular answer in much the spirit of the game show that came to define him – simply, concisely and accurately. The book matches the man, largely genial but with just a hint of remove.

As it should be.

(This is where I remind everybody that I was a contestant on “Jeopardy!” In fact, I was reading this book two years to the day after I got the call that I was going to be on the show. Obviously, this influenced the way that I experienced this book and I’m not going to pretend full objectivity. Nor am I going to ignore an in-context opportunity to mention it. I apologize for nothing.)

Published in Style

As of Monday night, James Holzhauer and I finally have something in common: We both lost on “Jeopardy!” Granted, it took 33 games for Holzhauer to go down and it took me, well … one … but still.

What is arguably the most dominant streak in game show history has finally come to an end. The 34-year-old professional gambler fell to Emma Boettcher, a librarian from Chicago. After 32 wins in a row – the second-longest streak in the 35 seasons of the venerable program – Holzhauer finally fell.

But it wasn’t in the way I expected.

Published in Style
Tuesday, 30 October 2018 23:01

I lost on ‘Jeopardy!’

BANGOR – I lost on “Jeopardy!”

On Oct. 30, a Tuesday, the episode – my episode - finally hit the airwaves. After over two months of vague answers to the questions asked by friends, acquaintances and strangers alike, I can finally say it: I lost. Despite playing what I considered to be a pretty strong game, in the end, it didn’t work out for me.

And it’s OK. Obviously, I would have loved to be a champion, but the truth is that the experience itself is what really wound up mattering.

Published in Cover Story
Tuesday, 23 October 2018 17:19

Edge editor to appear on ‘Jeopardy!’

BANGOR – This local writer and editor is going to appear on “Jeopardy!”

Who is … me?

Yeah - you’re going to see me on “Jeopardy!”

For real. I, Allen Adams, editor of The Maine Edge, will make my “Jeopardy!” debut on October 30. The syndicated question and answer show – currently in the midst of its 35th anniversary season – airs locally at 7:30 p.m. on WVII.

Published in Buzz

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