As a long-time watcher of Jeopardy! I feel compelled to cast my vote for the next permanent host of the show. After the death of Alex Trebek in November, the producers announced that a series of guest hosts would fill in starting in January before a final announcement was made in May.
The list of guest hosts is intriguing, but the competition is already over as far as I’m concerned. Ken Jennings, the greatest Jeopardy! player of all time, killed it in his six weeks as guest host that ended last Friday. He was engaging, funny, and completely nailed the timing of reading clues and interacting with the contestants. Of course, he got to watch Alex do it more times in person than any other contestants since we won 74 straight games back in 2004. He was my choice long before Alex even announced his cancer diagnosis, and he did nothing to change my mind during his time behind the podium.
The upcoming list of guest hosts includes some interesting names. Only Mike Richards and Katie Couric have definite dates for their hosting gigs. I include my level of interest in seeing each of them as well.
- Mike Richards, executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (February 22 to March 5). Richards has hosted five TV series in addition to being a game show producer, including Beauty and the Geek and Pyramid on Game Show Network. 3 out of 5; always somewhat interesting to watch the boss try to do the day-to-day work.
- Katie Couric, television journalist formerly with NBC, CBS, ABC, and Yahoo News (March 8 to 19). I’ve always liked Couric, so 4 out of 5 stars.
- Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the Doctor Oz Show. This is the only one I’m not interested in; Dr. Oz has promoted some borderline products and remedies on his show and, along with Dr. Phil, questioned some of the COVID protocols issued by the CDC last year, though he later walked those comments back. 1 out of 5.
- Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. 5 out of 5, just because quarterbacks on TV can be either naturally gregarious (Tony Romo) or kind of stiff (Phil Simms). I think Rodgers could be good, we’ll see. Rodgers is a former Celebrity Jeopardy! champion, winning in 2015.
- Anderson Cooper, host of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. 4 out of 5. I like Cooper’s work on CNN, though he can be a bit self-important at times. If he avoids any of that, he should be okay.
- Savannah Guthrie, co-host of NBC’s Today show. Also 4 out of 5. I don’t know Guthrie’s work as well, since I don’t watch morning shows, but she seems to think on her feet well when I’ve seen her in other reporting or hosting situations.
- Mayim Bialik, actress and neuroscientist. Bialik has hosted other shows in addition to her well-known acting roles on The Big Bang Theory, Blossom in the 1990s, and her current show, Call Me Kat. 3 out of 5.
- Bill Whitaker, correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes. 2 out of 5, only because I don’t watch 60 Minutes and have no idea who he is.
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN and associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University. 3 out of 5. I like Gupta’s work, he always seems like a straight shooter when it comes to personal health issues, and it’ll be interesting to see him try his hand at something like this.
But the Final Jeopardy! answer is: “This former 74-time champion is the obvious choice to be the next host of Jeopardy!” And my response is “Who is Ken Jennings?”