November 29, 2007

Hockey Night In Canada In "Jeopardy"

Over at Hockey Book Reviews.com, I've taken a look at Ralph Mellanby's new book, Walking With Legends: The Real Stories of Hockey Night in Canada.

For those who don't know, Mellanby was the long time executive producer of Hockey Night In Canada and a 5 time Emmy award winner for Olympic coverage. And yes, he is also Scott Mellanby's dad.

In his book he looks back at Canada's iconic show which he revolutionized in his vision. He's the guy who brought in Dick Irvin, Bob Cole, Harry Neale, Howie Meeker, Ron MacLean and of course Don Cherry.

He also brought in Dave Hodge, who replaced Ward Cornell as HNIC's host in 1971 and predated MacLean, who came along in 1987. Mellanby described Hodge as "the host's host" and a tremendous asset to HNIC. He also gives us the behind the scenes story of the famous pencil incident that got Hodge fired by the CBC.

Interestingly, Hodge was not Mellanby's first choice to replace Ward Cornell. No, according to Mellanby his first impulse was to bring in Alex Trebek, who at the time was working for the CBC in Ottawa.

Not long after, Trebek made his way to Hollywood as a game show host, working on such projects as High Roller and The Wizard of Odds, Battlestar and Pitfall, before landing his big break in 1984 with Jeopardy. He's also well known for the game show Classic Concentration.

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