Katie Couric has broken a lot of barriers in her career, but being the first full-time female host of Jeopardy! won’t be one of them. The journalist and podcaster said she wouldn’t want the job as she’s focused on building her media company.
Couric was one of a slate of guest hosts who are filling in until producers pick a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek. He died in October.
Couric spent two weeks behind the lectern. It was fun and stressful, she said, but also enough to know she wouldn’t want to do it full time, she said.
“So the first day I rehearsed and then the second day, I did five shows. And the third day, I did five more shows,” she told Poynter. “But it’s pretty exhausting to do five of those in one day — just to make sure you’re pronouncing everything correctly. … And really obscure Beowulf-like 16th-century German literature and it’s like, ‘Holy cow!’ Listen, I love Jeopardy! and I’ve always marveled at the contestants. But this really made me appreciate and respect the contestants more than I already did.”
Her main focus going in, she said, was to not mess up what Trebek and the producers have built.
“It doesn’t feel right to call it a game show. It is an American institution. I think it has become so a part of people’s lives that you don’t want to mess with a good thing. So I tried to strike that balance. It was a lot of fun, but it was a very tough job. And I said to many of my friends who complimented me: Thank God for post-production.
Couric and the show raised more than $230,000 to Stand Up 2 Cancer, a research and advocacy nonprofit she founded after her husband’s death to colon cancer in 1998.
‘Jeopardy!’ Has a Slew of Guest Hosts Upcoming
It’s unclear when Jeopardy! will name a full-time replacement for Alex Trebek. But judging by their selection of guest hosts, they’re casting a wide net. Each guest host has chosen a charity they’ll raise money for during their time on Jeopardy!
Dr. Mehmet Oz took over the show on Monday, much to the chagrin of former Jeopardy! Several posted an anonymous letter in February because of his embrace of pseudo-science on his daytime talk show.
Oz will host the show until April 2. Then Packers quarterback Rodgers hosts April 5-16. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will host from April 19-30. CBS journalist Bill Whitaker will helm the show from May 3-14.
Savannah Guthrie, NBC News’ TODAY co-anchor, Mayim Bialik, actress and neuroscientist, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent will also host. Though no dates have been released for when they’ll take over. Follow along with the changing host schedule at Jeopardy!‘s website.