‘Jeopardy!’: Facebook Campaign Racking Up Thousands of Signatures for 1985 Contestant to Guest Host

by Chris Haney

Recently, a Facebook campaign has garnered thousands of signatures in support of a former 1985 Jeopardy! champion to be a guest host on the game show.

Around 36 years ago, Birmingham, Michigan native Chuck Forrest became a record-setting Jeopardy! champion. Following the death of legendary host Alex Trebek in November 2020, the game show has utilized a long list of interim hosts in his place. The popular trivia competition has invited celebrities, athletes, journalists, and two former Jeopardy! champions to guest host.

Forrest’s cousin, Steve Chism, came up with the Facebook campaign idea around Chuck’s 60th birthday. The campaign is titled “America wants Chuck Forrest to guest host Jeopardy!” Although self-explanatory from its title, there is a reason why Chism thinks his cousin deserves a guest-hosting spot on the game show.

The former champion from the early days of the game show was one of the first multiple-episode winners. At the time, Jeopardy! had a limit for how many games a contestant could win in row. In 1985, Forrest maxed out the five-win limit and broke a winnings ceiling with $72,800 in earnings. In a way, he’s kind of the original Ken Jennings, who is well-known as Jeopardy!‘s greatest contestant ever.

As of Tuesday, more than 1,100 Facebook users supported Chism’s post about his cousin.

“He wrote to me and said that he wanted to do it. I told him to go ahead. But I said I didn’t want to actively campaign for it,” Forrest explained to Hometown Life. “I am flattered that he thinks I would be a good host, and by the fact that so many people have given their support.”

Chuck Forrest Admits it Would Be a Challenge to Host ‘Jeopardy!’

Life has taken the two cousins away from their home state of Michigan, but they still stay in touch often online. Chism works as a real estate agent in Florida, and Forrest now lives with his family and works in Rome, Italy.

For a number of years, Forrest was Jeopardy!‘s highest all-time, non-tournament cash winner. To this day, the former competitor speaks fondly of his experiences on the famous game show.

“It’s a great experience,” Forrest said. “It’s a lot of fun. You get the chance to get up there and show what you know and compete.”

In case Chism’s Facebook campaign does get the attention of Jeopardy! showrunners, Forrest would accept the invite to guest host the show. However, he knows hosting would be a challenge.

“It would be quite a challenge and require a lot of preparation,” he admitted. “But the fact that Jeopardy! has brought back former champions to host the show shows that you don’t need to be a show business professional.”

Former Champion is Proud To Be Part of the Game Show’s History

Additionally, Forrest also knows it will be almost impossible to truly replace Alex Trebek. He called the iconic host one of the last individuals in our country “that everyone respected.”

“He also had an air of complete integrity and impartiality,” Forrest said. “You can see how important he was to the viewers by the reaction people had to his death. He was one of the few people left in America that everyone respected.

“I think the new host has to strive for that kind of image, and allow the contestants to showcase their skills and personalities,” he added.

Regardless of whether or not he gets his turn to become an interim host, Forrest is proud of his accomplishments on the game show. He’s happy to be part of the history of the show and thankful for the notoriety it gave him around the world.

“It’s something which has gone on and on and on,” Forrest claimed. “It has built something which is really a defining part of my life. It’s nice to be remembered.”