We have to say it: “Jeopardy!” may be in jeopardy. In the weeks since Ken Jennings‘ departure as guest host, America’s highest-rated game show has taken a ratings nosedive.
Can somebody call Ken, please? Alex Trebek’s protégé has always been the clear choice for many to inherit the show. As of this week, however, there’s some hefty numbers to back up this sentiment.
Outsider knows as well as the next “Jeopardy!”-crazed body that there’ll never be any replacing Alex Trebek. Honoring his legacy with the right person, though, is paramount. While the late, great host and fellow TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz were close friends, the Dr.’s controversial presence on the intellectual game show took its toll on TV ratings.
Dr. Oz’s second week hosting alone dragged “Jeopardy!” from it’s typical, steady 6 million weekly viewers down to 4.9 million, according to Showbiz411. It goes without saying, but that’s a tremendous loss for such a short amount of time.
Moreover, Oz’s first week was +300,000 viewers, meaning hundreds of thousands who tuned in (perhaps to give him a chance despite his controversial nature) didn’t find the Dr. to their liking.
All ‘Jeopardy!’ Hosts After Ken Jennings Have Decreased Ratings
411 clarifies, however, that Dr. Oz isn’t completely to blame – though he is the main culprit. Journalism icon Katie Couric’s tenure as guest host – the second to take the podium post-Ken after Executive Producer Mike Richards – saw a ratings dip, too.
All of this is made doubly important by noting that Ken Jennings’ presence on “Jeopardy!” kept the show at its long-held 6+ million viewership. The show, and EP Richards in particular, has tried its best to pay due respects to Alex Trebek. In doing so, they’re taking their time to “replace” the beloved icon. While a full season/year’s worth of guest hosts seemed like a fun way to accomplish this at the time, the risk factor is now in full effect.
Currently, Green Bay Packers quarterback and “Celebrity Jeopardy!” champ Aaron Rodgers is hosting. Ratings won’t be available for his stint until it’s nearing completion. Unless sports fans have come out in droves for Rodgers, things are unlikely to have rebounded 1.7 million viewers.
And we’re nowhere near done with the celebrity-guest-host-a-thon, either. Next week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper takes the podium, with “60 Minutes” Bill Whitaker in toe. It only gets more obscure from there.
EP Mike Rodgers previously stated that “Jeopardy!” will not announce their new, permanent host until the end of this season, too. With the damage already done, however, something tells us we’ll have an announcement sooner rather than later.