Host Alex Trebek introduced the 35th season of "Jeopardy!" Monday sporting the gray beard that had been featured in promotional clips last week. And a day into the game show's weeklong poll to determine whether he should keep it, more than 62,000 people had voted roughly 68 percent in favor of the facial hair.
"No need to inquire how I spent my summer vacation," Trebek, 78, quipped on the game show's season premiere, days after his beard was first seen in "Jeopardy!" promos. "Because so many of you people asked about it, I decided to regrow my mustache," which he had shaved off in 2001 and briefly regrew in 2014. "But as you can see, things got a little out of hand. These hairs kept attracting friends. Whether I keep it or not depends on you."
Saying he hoped the beard "won't be a distraction for our players," he urged fans to visit Facebook or Instagram to vote, although the show's Instagram page has no voting mechanism. As of Tuesday evening, the "Jeopardy!" Facebook page listed nearly 49,000 votes, 64 percent in favor, while the unmentioned Twitter page listed just over 13,000 votes, 71 percent in favor.
Trebek sported a mustache when this current iteration of "Jeopardy!" debuted in 1984, after the show initially aired with other hosts from 1964 to 1975 and again from 1978 to 1979. He grew it back in September 2014 for that season's premiere, but shaved it after a month due to viewer votes.
The host, whose contract expires in 2020, said in July he was uncertain if he would continue beyond that. Trebek told the interview show "Objectified" that should he depart, he might like Los Angeles Kings hockey announcer Alex Faust or CNN legal analyst Laura Coates to succeed him.
In 2016, Trebek made No. 11 in Forbes magazine's debut list of highest-earning TV-show hosts, which included both game shows and talk shows, making an estimated $16.5 million. He does not appear in the 2017 list, the most recent, which has only 10 spots.
The syndicated "Jeopardy!" airs weekdays at 7 p.m. on WABC/7.