The long-lasting impact 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek made during 2017 visit to ABC13

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Monday, November 9, 2020
Alex Trebek's long-lasting impact on ABC13
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"Jeopardy!" bills itself as "America's favorite quiz show" and captivated the public with a unique format. Trebek, who became its host in 1984, was a master of the format, engaging in friendly banter with contestants, appearing genuinely pleased when they answered correctly and, at the same time, moving the game along in a brisk no-nonsense fashion whenever people struggled for answers.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Alex Trebek wasn't only beloved by viewers around the world, he had a lot of fans at ABC13.

In 2017, Trebek, who was on a publicity tour, spent a day at the TV station in Houston. Like the true game show host he was, he recalled something unique about Houston's development.

"You have no zoning laws," he told a gathered crowd in the newsroom at the time.

READ MORE: ABC13 staff shares stories of 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek

He also made a lasting impression on those who spent time with him, including our now General Manager Wendy Granato.

"The gentleman that you saw on 'Jeopardy!', kind and respectful and smart and funny, and quick witted," Granato said Sunday after learning of Trebek's death from pancreatic cancer. "He was that and more. I've never seen the newsroom so excited to meet someone before."

Relive the moment: Watch ABC13's 2017 interview with Alex Trebek

Meanwhile, ABC13 anchor Melanie Lawson remembers his warmth and willingness to engage.

"My favorite part was when he walked into the newsroom and chaos ensued," Lawson said. "Everybody was up from their desks and sort of gathered around. He was so incredibly gracious. He talked to everybody. He answered all of the same questions I am sure he's heard a thousand times. He was also incredibly funny. He was very dry and he just had me cracking up the whole time."

There was, however, no bigger fan of Trebek and "Jeopardy!" than Dave Ward.

ABC13's Anchor Emeritus watched every day. He often answered the questions aloud at his desk. It was Trebek, he believes, who made the simple game show stand out.

"He was the consummate professional. He made it look easy and you and I both know anything in television is not easy," he said. "I am a game show junkie as you know, and of all the game shows, "Jeopardy!" has been my favorite all these years. Me and Melanie, we would watch that show every day just to see which one of us could come up with the most right answers."

Ward is a former Guinness Book world record holder for his longevity at ABC13. Trebek holds the Guinness Book world record for hosting close to 8,200 episodes of "Jeopardy!"

He left a lasting impression on audiences everywhere including those right here in our building in southwest Houston.

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