We’ll take “surprising side gigs” for $1,000! “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek will moderate a debate in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race.
The longtime game show star will be questioning candidates at an Oct. 1 forum sponsored by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the organization announced. He’s certainly an unusual choice — his onstage queries are usually more focused on bits of trivia than policy proposals (and they’re accompanied by that jaunty “Jeopardy” tune, which we imagine won’t be part of the political debate). The Pennsylvania chamber’s last two such debates have been moderated by the kind of Wise Men of Broadcasting you would expect: local ABC anchor Dennis Owens in 2014 and Ted Koppel in 2010.
But Trebek, a native of Canada and a naturalized U.S. citizen, is apparently living out a dream. He told the Hill newspaper in 2013 that he would be a tough and persistent questioner if he ever landed the gig of moderating a presidential debate. “Unlike some of the other moderators — I’m not going to disparage them — but I have a different approach,” he said. “I would not let the politicians get away with standard responses. I would try to pin them down, even though I might look bad doing it.”
So how did he land this job? Sounds like a combo of inspired thinking and good timing. “We were trying to come up with ideas, and someone on staff suggested Alex Trebek,” a chamber spokeswoman told us. “And we looked into it and found out he was available.”