Model of Decorum
Mr. Trebek hosted more than 8,000 episodes of “Jeopardy!” In 2014, he claimed the record for hosting the most episodes of a single game show, surpassing the record set by Bob Barker, who had led “The Price is Right” for 6,828 episodes between 1972 and 2007.
Mr. Trebek once said he thought game shows did well because they avoided conflict.
“In this day and age, when there is so much societal tension, game shows are valuable because they’re pleasant,” he told New York magazine in 2018.
Some viewers were drawn to the sense of absolute certitude that Mr. Trebek projected.
“As we get further into the 21st century, and we become more aware of the relativism of truth, there is something satisfying about Alex telling you it’s right or wrong,” Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, said in a phone interview.
“I love that there is no discussion, no panel of experts,” he said. “Just Alex with his cards.”
Mr. Trebek spurned being called the star of “Jeopardy!” He wanted viewers to focus on the material. The show derived its drama not from any antics of his, but from the contestants and the possibility that at any moment fortunes could shift, with an apparent loser becoming an instant winner, and vice versa.
“You have to set your ego aside,” Mr. Trebek said of his role. “If you want to be a good host, you have to figure out a way to get the contestants to — as in the old television commercial about the military — ‘be all you can be.’ Because if they do well, the show does well. And if the show does well, by association, I do well.”