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Alex has left the building

Brad Williams

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So much bad news is happening this year. Wait a minute, let me phrase that in the form of a question: “Why is so much bad news happening this year?”

On top of everything else we’ve had to endure in 2020, the TV game show community has been hit pretty hard. This year, we’ve lost Regis Philbin from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”…Tom Kennedy of “Name That Tune” and many others…and Hugh Downs, the original host of “Concentration” and the news show “20/20.” For a couple of years, “Jeopardy” fans have been concerned about the health of host Alex Trebek, as he battled pancreatic cancer. The word came on Sunday that Alex had passed away, at the age of 80.

I have no problem calling him “Alex” because I got to be on “Jeopardy” years ago (1990, to be exact). Too bad it was only for one game. But playing on the show is still one of my favorite achievements, and something people want to know about. Alex found common ground with me, asking in the interview segment about my experiences in radio news, which he did in Canada early in his career. And he was complimentary about my close second-place finish, saying “You gave it a good shot.” That’s the only time I actually spoke with Alex, although I did attend another “Jeopardy” taping years later, and first saw him in-person when he was hosting “Classic Concentration” on NBC. It was very cool to share a stage with him.

We’re told his last episode of “Jeopardy” will be a Friday show, airing on Christmas Day. Although some people have suggested that the show shouldn’t go on without him, that’s crazy! “Millionaire” has gone on without “Regis,” and “Price Is Right” rolls on, years after Bob Barker retired. Hey, the Packers didn’t go out of business after Vince Lombardi left. A new “Jeopardy” host will have a tough time filling Alex Trebek’s shoes, but there’s a potentially great host for a great game somewhere, I think. I mean, “Don’t you think?”

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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