Alex Trebek: Does He Have a Gender Obsession?


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Some people think Alex Trebek, long-time host of the television game show Jeopardy, is slightly obsessed with gender.

March 3-7 was 1990s Week on Jeopardy, part a four week Battle of the Decades series the show is billing as "a tournament 30 years in the making."

Jeopardy brought back various 1990s champions throughout the week, and Trebek's opening comments on the fourth episode referenced the gender of the contestants:

“So far, our battle of the decades, 1990s, has turned into a battle of the sexes! This week, three matches, three women have moved on. Is that good news for Claudia or does it put extra pressure on her? Mark and Dave might want to put extra pressure on her.”

As it turns out, Mark Dawson of Chamblee, GA won that match and will advance to the finals in May along with one male and the three female contestants Trebek mentioned in his introduction.

Trebek's comment came on the heels of gender-focused remarks he made when he appeared on Fox News Channel's The Five on February 26. Trebek made the appearance to defend Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu's controversial playing strategy.

But Trebek got sidetracked from his original purpose when he made this comment in response to a question from host Dana Perino:

“Women contestants, when it comes to a Daily Double, seem to want to wager [less] because they figure, ‘Oh, this is the household money, this is the grocery money, the rent money,’” Trebek said. “Guys say, ‘Wait a minute, I’m playing with the house money. I’m not taking any money home unless I win the game, so I can go whole hog on this wager.’ And women are more cautious in that regard. But it’s changing … they’re getting a little more adventurous.”

(Slate evaluated the numbers and found that there is a gap in male and female wagers, but it's not drastic.)

Jeopardy has had several incarnations since it originally aired on NBC in March 1964. Trebek has hosted the current version since its inception in September 1984.

Image via YouTube