‘Jeopardy!’: Joe Buck Was Given ‘Best Compliment I Can Have’ From Reported New Permanent Host Mike Richards

by Leanne Stahulak

Tonight, Fox sportscaster Joe Buck begins his guest-hosting stint behind the”Jeopardy!” lectern. He’ll take the reins for the last week of the season, from August 9 to August 13.

Since the late and great Alex Trebek died last November of pancreatic cancer, several interim guest hosts have stepped up to lead the game show. Many fellow journalists were among them, but few have the years of experience that Buck does. He’s been calling NFL and MLB games for Fox Sports for nearly 30 years, including 23 World Series match-ups and six Super Bowls.

But when Buck accepted the “Jeopardy!” guest hosting position, he knew he’d be calling a different kind of game.

“When somebody said, ‘Hey, would you want to fill in as a guest host?’ Yes was my answer,” Buck said in a “Jeopardy!” exclusive interview. “And it was quick, because it’s something new for me, it’s a challenge.”

Apparently, Buck knocked that challenge out of the park. When talking to his hometown paper, the St Louis Post-Dispatch, he revealed that executive producer Mike Richards had some kind words for him about his performance.

“[He] told me ‘You were really funny.’ That’s the best compliment I can have because it means I was being myself,” Buck said. “I never felt out of place, like I was scrambling. The executives really liked it, (audience) testing went well.”

That’s high praise from Richards, who guest-hosted earlier this season. He’s also in talks to be the next permanent host, per Variety, with “advanced negotiations” already underway. Buck, who didn’t plan on gunning for the permanent position, is totally fine with that.

“I have no belief it will be anything other than crossing it off a fictitious bucket list,” he said.

Last Guest Host Joe Buck Talks About Time on ‘Jeopardy!’

Even though he knew he wasn’t interested in the long-term hosting gig, Buck still put everything he could into his performance. But since he had “no point of reference” for hosting a game show, he won’t really know what fans think until tonight’s episode airs.

“After a (sporting event), you know if it went well or not,” Buck told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But he filmed these “Jeopardy!” episodes months ago in May. Now, it’s finally time for them to hit our TV screens.

Either way, he was excited to take on the opportunity and try his best at something he wasn’t familiar with.

“I kind of skipped out of the building I felt so good,” he said. “They threw every curveball they could at me.”

Something Buck seems to be struggling with is keeping his mouth shut about the results of the game. Right now, champion Matt Amodio is on a 13-game winning streak, blowing his competition out of the water. And Buck revealed that he was “rooting” for one specific contestant, but wouldn’t say who.

“I was hoping he did well,” Buck said. “He had a lot of personality; he was very likable.”

Could it be Amodio? Guess we’ll find out by the end of this week.