Alex Trebek is known for his long-time role hosting Jeopardy!, one of the most popular trivia game shows in TV history. Trebek has a wide fan base that knows him as the serious, unflappable persona he portrays on the screen. From gently (or sometimes not-so-gently) poking fun at the participants to being filled with trivia facts himself, Trebek is an icon of geek culture. That’s why some fans might be surprised to learn that he once appeared on an episode of the decidedly not serious sitcom The Nanny.
Alex Trebek has hosted ‘Jeopardy!’ for years
Trebek is a Canadian who was born in 1940. After high school, he went to college to study philosophy before switching to broadcast journalism. His first gig as a news anchor earned him a reputation of having a cool on-screen demeanor, and he decided to try his hand at a more entertainment-focused career.
In 1973, he moved to the United States with dreams of making it in Hollywood, and he quickly picked up a short-lived gig as a game show host for NBC’s The Wizard of Odds. While that show didn’t last, Trebek had found a niche in game shows and would go on to host several others before catching Merv Griffin’s eye in 1984.
Griffin was working on a project to revive the trivia competition Jeopardy!, which had originally aired from 1964 to 1975. Griffin, who had a history of success with popular game shows as the creator of Wheel of Fortune, definitely did well picking Trebek to host his new project. Trebek would quickly charm audiences and help launch Jeopardy! into popularity, racking up multiple Emmy Awards along the way.
‘The Nanny’ ran from 1993 to 1999
The Nanny premiered on CBS in 1993 and ran for six seasons before concluding in 1999. It starred Fran Drescher as Fran Fine, a recently-dumped cosmetics saleswoman who is mistakenly thought to be applying for a nanny position. When widowed, and very wealthy, Maxwell Sheffield (portrayed by Charles Shaughnessy) hired her to help care for his three children, he set the stage for comedic hijinks and romantic chemistry that became the primary focus of the show.
The sitcom was a hit and continues to capture audiences who re-watch the series today. Rumors have swirled about a reboot, but nothing solid has come forward yet. Drescher, however, has announced plans for a Broadway musical version of the tale, so we can expect to see more iterations of the comedy to literally hit the stage. The show is remembered as lighthearted, fun, and endearing.
Alex Trebek once appeared on ‘The Nanny’
One of the world’s most popular game shows and a sitcom from the 90s have this in common. If you answered, “Who is Alex Trebek?,” you’d be right!
In a 1995 episode of The Nanny titled “Franny and the Professor,” there is a bet with know-it-all professor and brother to the character C.C., Noel.
Noel bets C.C. about whether he can get Fran onto Jeopardy!, which is a mean-spirited dig at his perception of Fran as being less intelligent than he is. The tension builds as Fran does make it onto the show but struggles to keep up with the other contestants. A last-minute Double Jeopardy question — which she correctly answers with “What is borscht?” — puts her back in the positives. She barely has enough money to play Final Jeopardy! but ultimately squeaks through with a win.
Alex Trebek appeared as himself on this episode of the series, providing his signature collected demeanor to give the fictional appearance of an actual Jeopardy! game a lot more weight.