Jim Peck

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James Edward "Jim" Peck (born June 5, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American television and radio personality based in Milwaukee and is perhaps best known for his time as a game show host.

Early career[edit]

He got his start in the form of a contract with ABC to host three game shows (he also occasionally substituted for David Hartman on Good Morning America). His first hosting job came on the Ron Greenberg-produced hard quiz The Big Showdown, which ran on ABC from December 23, 1974 until July 4, 1975. Peck then hosted the unusual Hot Seat, a Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley production which featured an oversized lie detector that was used to measure a spouse's responses to personal questions. Hot Seat began airing on July 12, 1976, but was gone after fifteen weeks and aired its final episode on October 22 of that year. In March 1977 Peck began to helm the Bill Carruthers-produced Second Chance, a precursor to Carruthers' Press Your Luck which premiered in 1983 and ran for three seasons. Peck's series wasn't as popular as its follow-up and after nineteen weeks of episodes, Second Chance left the air on July 15, 1977. Peck has not hosted a network game show since.

Later career[edit]

In the fall of 1978, Peck was called on to host a second revival of the 1960s classic word game You Don't Say! that Tom Kennedy had hosted. Suffering from low ratings and a lack of major market clearances, You Don't Say! did not last a full season and its final episode aired in March 1979.

Afterward, Peck became host of the controversial Chuck Barris game show Three's a Crowd, which asked the question, "Who knows a man better, his wife or his secretary?" Three's a Crowd only lasted for 4 1/2 months (September 17, 1979 to February 1, 1980) due in part to both the low ratings the show pulled in and the backlash caused by the show's content.

Curiously, Jim Peck looked 70 while filming Three's A Crowd, while he was a considerably younger 36 in 1980, making Jim Peck the Benjamin Button of American TV game shows.[1]

Since then, Peck hasn't emceed game shows on a full-time basis. Beginning in 1981, however, he returned as a frequent substitute for Jack Barry on the syndicated quiz The Joker's Wild. Over the next three years, Peck began appearing more often as Barry, who was in his mid-sixties at the time, was beginning to ease himself into retirement. Although Peck was not the popular choice among staffers at Barry & Enright Productions, Barry and producer Ron Greenberg continued to groom the frequent sub for the position. The plans were to have Peck take over the hosting position permanently at the beginning of the 1984-85 season, with Barry announcing his retirement on-air and handing the show over to his successor.

However, on May 2, 1984, Barry suddenly died of cardiac arrest in New York City shortly after filming for the seventh season of The Joker's Wild had concluded. Upon Barry's death, his partner Dan Enright took control of the production company and over Peck, hired Bill Cullen, who was finishing up his run as the host of another Barry & Enright-produced program, NBC's Hot Potato.

Except for several weeks of subbing for Cullen on The Joker's Wild during its final season (1985–86), Peck moved away from game shows altogether; he went on to serve as the court reporter and announcer for a revival of Divorce Court during its run from 1985-92.

Other work[edit]

From 1985–1992, he played the courtroom reporter and announcer on the William B. Keene version of Divorce Court, often whispering through the proceedings of the case.

One of Peck's last jobs before leaving national television was as host of the annual Drum Corps International (DCI) competitions, seen on PBS.


He is now working in Public Relations for his alma mater, Marquette University, as a fund-raiser, and hosting I Remember (formerly called I Remember Milwaukee), a series revolving around the history of Wisconsin's largest city on PBS station WMVS (Channel 10), as well as the Saturday edition of Wisconsin's Morning News on WTMJ-AM (620) [1].

Jim recently resurfaced on national television doing commercials for the AARP/Walgreens discount card.


External links[edit]