Pat Sajak & Vanna White Remember Alex Trebek: Watch the 'Jeopardy!'/'Wheel' Crossover (VIDEO)
Like Alex Trebek, Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak and Vanna White are household names that, through their roles as game show hosts, have become notable, generation-spanning figures in pop culture. The three of them just so happened to also be good friends and even better pranksters.
After the news broke of Trebek’s passing on November 8, both Sajak and White took to social media that day to share their memories, love and appreciation for the Jeopardy! host, as a friend, colleague and TV icon.
“Alex Trebek’s courage, grace and strength inspired millions and awed those of us who knew him. A tremendous loss for his family, friends, co-workers and countless viewers. I was honored to be a friend and a part of his professional family for all these years,” the Wheel of Fortune host wrote in a tweet.
“I will cherish the many memories I have shared with Alex Trebek that date back well before either of our careers took off. I will always be in awe of the way he faced the battle he fought so valiantly, and I’m devastated to lose my longtime friend,” White captioned a series of photos on Instagram (below).
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I will cherish the many memories I have shared with Alex Trebek that date back well before either of our careers took off. I will always be in awe of the way he faced the battle he fought so valiantly, and I’m devastated to lose my longtime friend. My heart is with his family, friends, co-workers and fans. There will never be another Alex Trebek and he will truly be missed.
The Wheel of Fortune duo and late Jeopardy! host had a connection like no other, as their relationship in the game show world was both decades long and built around their back-to-back air times. For many, the trivia show and word game played right after one another at the same time every night, making the beloved programs synonymous with each other.
In 1997, the two shows bridged the commercial break-long gap between them in order to pull a surprise prank on fans and TV lovers alike. That’s right, 23 years ago, on April Fool’s Day, Sajak expertly filled Trebek’s shoes for a night of Jeopardy!, while Trebek took his place hosting “America’s Game” with Sajak and White behind the wheel as contestants. Nobody saw it coming at the time, but nobody will ever forget it either. (Watch both below.)
TV fans of all ages were stunned at the one-time switch but quickly came to love the fun banter and light-heartedness of it all. The two shows were always grouped together and looked at as an hour of daily television that never changed and maintained a level of nighttime normalcy in households around the country… until this epic crossover occurred.
Sajak stepped right in as effortlessly and nonchalantly as possible, kicking off that day’s episode of Jeopardy! by saying, “Welcome to Jeopardy!, glad you could be here on our April 1 edition.”
Similarly, Trebek jumped into the driver’s seat at Wheel by joking with the audience. “Welcome to our special, Tuesday, April 1 edition of Wheel of Fortune. I’ll leave you to figure out why I am here today,” he said to the camera.
Both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune have had hundreds of memorable, history-defining moments, but fans of each credit the 1997 April Fool’s Day prank to be some of the best television they have ever seen — game show or otherwise. Much of the credit goes to how delightful it was to see Trebek, Sajak and White’s personalities shine through in an even more immersive, amusing way than from their usual posts behind the podium or in front of the board.
Some may have pit the hosts of these back-to-back game shows against each other, or even looked at them as rivals, but the reality was that they were all just doing their job and loving every second of it – and each other.
Jeopardy!, Weekdays, check your local listings
Wheel of Fortune, Weekdays, check your local listings