Who Will Be the Permanent Host of ‘Jeopardy!’?

Hint: Dr. Oz is a big longshot

Instead of naming a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek after his death, the producers of “Jeopardy!” decided to try something new with their august brand: inviting “a series of guest hosts comprised of award-winning journalists and distinguished figures” (their words) to take the podium and continue the show for charity while a final decision is being made. As the experiment enters its fourth month, let’s step back and review the guest hosts’ performance so far, and set some odds, for entertainment purposes only, on who’s most likely to get the gig.

Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

Ken Jennings +150
Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings, from GOAT to ‘Jeopardy!’ host?

The safe choice, and a name synonymous with “Jeopardy!” over the years, Jennings’ test run as Trebek’s first replacement went well enough, with Jennings lending a familiar presence to the proceedings that made Trebek’s absence less jarring. He also has a consulting producer credit this season, meaning that the powers that be have already worked with him professionally. What might factor against him? His commitments to “The Chase,” ABC’s rival quiz show, which has been renewed for a second season, and a history of #problematic jokes on Twitter. Nonetheless, he’s still the favorite, a personality so widely beloved by “Jeopardy!” viewers that he even survived the taint of Bean Dad.

LeVar Burton +250

The sentimental choice, and there’s even a petition. Admittedly, the petition credits Burton with “[inspiring and shaping] the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds,” which may or may not be a positive thing in 2021, but Burton has it all: a groundswell of fan support, a stated desire to do it, and enough gravitas to pull off the job. Yet “Jeopardy!” hasn’t announced him as a guest host. Is there something they’re not telling us, or is Burton perhaps too good to need an audition?

Aaron Rodgers +400

Jeopardy!

The most pleasant surprise of the guest hosts so far, Rodgers is affable, mellow, and wry, with a jockish spirit that initially seemed like a strange fit for Jeopardy’s mental pressure cooker but quickly belied a good-natured sense of humor. His first week of shows was eminently watchable: Rodgers played along with a goofy Final Jeopardy answer referencing the NFC Championship Game, revealed his love of Ewoks, and openly lobbied for the job in interviews. Nobody would be upset if Rodgers continued in the role –except Vikings fans.

Mike Richards +800

A game show lifer with numerous hosting and production credits, Richards is in charge of the current incarnation of the show, and took a guest turn after Jennings in February. It was a competent, largely unremarkable run, and while it would be a bit of a letdown to see him take over the permanent job, he’s ultimately the person who has to make the decision, and thus can’t be ruled out.

Mayim Bialik +1000

Bialik is an interesting dark horse mostly because of her real-life bona fides: namely, a neuroscience Ph.D. and a three-decade acting career. We haven’t seen her take the podium yet, so it’s unclear how her charm will translate to the stage in Culver City, but she’d check a lot of boxes as an established, familiar star with intellectual cred.

Anderson Cooper +1500

A similar logic as the one behind Bialik’s candidacy applies to Cooper: he’s a famous, familiar name with a credible personality and lots of side projects. It’s hard to say if he’s a serious candidate, but he seems like an inoffensive pick and will likely do well.

Field +4000

Katie Couric says she doesn’t want it. Bill Whitaker, Savannah Guthrie and Sanjay Gupta haven’t gone yet. There are always the possibilities of Alex Faust and Laura Coates, LA-era news personalities whom Trebek touted as his possible heirs in the years before his death. The field may also include names we haven’t heard yet, but with a few solid choices already in the mix and a permanent replacement promised for the fall season, a surprise feels unlikely.

George Stromboulopoulos +10000

Who better to take over the job than another Canuck? Strombo is an iconic Canadian TV presenter who has attempted to cross over into the American market from time to time. Virtually unknown to “Jeopardy!” viewers, he nonetheless has the je ne sais quoi to make it look like he knows what he’s talking aboot.

Hank Azaria in character as Jim Brockmire +25000

There’s a precedent for this: Azaria is open about wanting to continue the Brockmire character, and actually appeared as a talking head during ESPN broadcasts of Korean baseball games last year. Would it last very long, with Brockmire assaulting America’s living rooms with tales of Chiang Mai heroin benders and Steve Garvey’s hog? Absolutely not. Would it be a week or so of must-see television? Absolutely.

Dr. Oz +50000
Oz
Hard pass 

Dr. Oz’s turn as guest host in March was a disaster in every conceivable way: bad press, poor ratings, the intense public scorn of many former contestants, and worst of all, pretty lousy TV. Oz had a hard time finding the correct energy level for the show, with a cheesy, high-wattage grin that might have sold a few extra bottles of diet pills, but was out of place on “Jeopardy!”. On Monday, The Ringer’s Claire McNear reported that Oz even criticized contestants within their earshot, a remarkable faux pas in the show’s supportive bubble. Even a show that had no problem shilling term life insurance and vitamin supplements over the years knows enough to stay away.

Tom Brady +100000

Just saying: if you want a Hall of Fame quarterback AND a guy who peddles pseudoscience…

 

 You May Also Like

Daniel Cohen

Daniel Cohen is a software developer who lives in Syracuse, New York. He has written for Yard Work, The Guardian, and Maura Magazine.

26 thoughts on “Who Will Be the Permanent Host of ‘Jeopardy!’?

  • April 14, 2021 at 1:59 pm
    Permalink

    Kyle jennings should be the permanent host of jeopardy.levar burton would be a big mistake.

    Reply
    • April 15, 2021 at 4:32 pm
      Permalink

      who is kyle jennings, my dude?

      Reply
    • April 16, 2021 at 8:40 pm
      Permalink

      Ken Jennings should definitely be the permanent host for Jeopardy. If he is not going to be the permanent host I will no longer watch Jeopardy and the ratings will be going down. I watched him the six weeks that he was on there but after that I stopped watching it. So if he’s not the permanent host I’m through with Jeopardy

      Reply
    • April 20, 2021 at 1:47 pm
      Permalink

      I agree! JENNINGS SHOULD BE THE HOST AND GET PAID. The rest are like stars and they are great and already rich let’s give the former winning contestant a chance

      Reply
    • April 21, 2021 at 4:47 pm
      Permalink

      If you were watching Jeopardy because of the host you are definitely NOT a Jeopardy fan! The stars of the show are the contestants not the host. I watch to test my knowledge against the contestants and don’t care who is reading the questions. Jeopardy is better off without you in the viewing audience!

      Reply
  • April 15, 2021 at 10:21 pm
    Permalink

    I would love to see Ken Jennings be the replacement on Jeopardy. Please don’t let Aaron Rogers replace Alex. Aaron has no personality. I would not watch Jeopardy if he is the host.

    Reply
    • April 16, 2021 at 8:42 pm
      Permalink

      Ken Jennings is my pick for permanent host and as I said before if he is not then I will no longer watch Jeopardy

      Reply
  • April 16, 2021 at 8:42 am
    Permalink

    if George Stromboulopoulos gets the spot that is the end of Jeopardy for me

    Reply
  • April 16, 2021 at 4:02 pm
    Permalink

    OF COURSE Ken Jennings should be the new host of Jeopardy! He has it all… appealing personality, brilliant mind, wit, on-camera ease, experience…. and modesty! He should be a shoe-in!!

    Reply
  • April 16, 2021 at 5:03 pm
    Permalink

    I like Ken Jennings the best. Dr. Oz – it’s hard to listen to his voice. The others don’t seem to fit in well.

    Reply
  • April 16, 2021 at 6:38 pm
    Permalink

    I’m in for anyone except Dr. Oz.

    What were the producers/network thinking when they hired that snake oil salesman?

    Reply
  • April 16, 2021 at 8:46 pm
    Permalink

    Ken Jennings should definitely be the permanent host for Jeopardy. If he is not going to be the permanent host I will no longer watch Jeopardy and the ratings will be going down. I watched him the six weeks that he was on there but after that I stopped watching it. So if he’s not the permanent host I’m through with Jeopardy

    Reply
  • April 18, 2021 at 12:13 am
    Permalink

    Ken Jennings was awful, he spoke too fast and seemed condescending when a guest did not get the answer right. Katie was nice but to “sweet” and I would have liked her to be my favorite as a women hosting a serious game show would be good. Oz was horrible and sounded like he was yelling and angry all the time. That producer person after Ken was great but did not seem genuine. I like Aaron Rodgers, seemingly laid back and approachable. Of course Anderson Cooper would be great but I think he is a little busy! Sanja Gupta, too busy but Mayim I’m looking forward to seeing. so far I like Rodgers best. How silly that people would stop watching if a certain host was picked or not picked. No one can take Trebeck’s place but the show is still wonderful.

    Reply
  • April 20, 2021 at 1:53 pm
    Permalink

    I agree! JENNINGS SHOULD BE THE HOST AND GET PAID. The rest are like stars and they are great and already rich let’s give the former winning contestant a chance

    Reply
    • April 21, 2021 at 8:01 pm
      Permalink

      Ken Jennings was really good but Mike Richards & especially Aaron Rodgers surprised the heck out of me. The worst was Katie Couric & Dr Oz. They were out of their element. Anderson Cooper has too much political baggage & has said some pretty controversial things that make him opposite of Alex’s stance in the game.

      Reply
      • April 24, 2021 at 10:46 pm
        Permalink

        Ken jennings should be the permanent host

        Reply
  • April 20, 2021 at 11:45 pm
    Permalink

    Ken Jennings does not have the personality to be a game show host. He is clever, yes, but he is stilted in his comments and in his reading of the clues. Excellent diction is imperative in this game.
    I have watched Jeopardy for many, many years and Alex Trebeck is a hard act to follow. Keep trying new hosts and hopefully one will be found who can fill his boots.

    Reply
  • April 21, 2021 at 6:23 pm
    Permalink

    Anderson Cooper is definitely the best choice. He’s the total package. If they don’t choose him, then it should be Ken Jennings for sure

    Reply
  • April 21, 2021 at 7:52 pm
    Permalink

    Anderson Cooper is the perfect replacement. He has been the best so far.

    Reply
  • April 23, 2021 at 7:54 pm
    Permalink

    It is time to get the guest host process over with! Please bring back Ken Jennings!

    Reply
    • April 24, 2021 at 10:48 pm
      Permalink

      I agree with you they should bring him back

      Reply
  • April 23, 2021 at 11:59 pm
    Permalink

    Aaron Rodgers – hosted with the same ease that Alex Trebeck did!

    Reply
  • May 4, 2021 at 4:38 pm
    Permalink

    Ken Jennings a definite NO. He is too full of his self. Does not have the charisma with the contestants and when he tries to be funny he is not. Just because you are the most money maker on the show does not make him a suitable host, He has also been rude on other shows and does not respect fellow high winning contestants like himself! Voice is not a suitable voice! Too squeaky. Brags about his accomplishments on the show.
    Aaron Rodgers is gracious, treats contestants with respect and is handsome (like Alex) has a voice deep and host like. Very knowledgeable and reminds me of middle age Alex!! Hire him Please!!!’

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *