‘Jeopardy!’: Katie Couric Opens Up About What She Learned About Herself While Guest-Hosting

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)

Earlier today, an interview with journalist Katie Couric released where she talked about what she’s learned about herself while guest-hosting Jeopardy!.

On Monday, the former Today anchor became the first woman to ever host the popular quiz show. Couric’s first show as host aired yesterday on International Women’s Day, which seemed fitting for the historic occasion.

Previous to Couric taking the reins, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings and producer Mike Richards filled in as interims. Couric’s temporary gig as host of the game show will run from March 8 to March 19 before Dr. Mehmet Oz takes over on March 22.

Katie Couric recently spoke with People about her interim role as host. The 60 Minutes correspondent opened up about helping keep the late Alex Trebek’s spirit alive on Jeopardy!. Additionally, she admitted that if she could choose the next permanent host, she’d vote for Jennings.

During the interview, she also touched on what she’s taken away from her guest-hosting role. As difficult as the quiz show can be for its contestants, it’s no walk in the park for the hosts either. Couric had to study up and prepare thoroughly for her run as host. When asked what she learned, she admitted that she has a whole new respect for the show and its brilliant guests.

“Well, that I’m not one scintilla as intelligent as the typical Jeopardy! contestant,” Couric joked.

“I made sure I pronounced all the crazy pronunciations. I do a lot of Googling. You know, how do you say this, how do you say that?” she said of her Jeopardy! preparations.

Katie Couric Honored To Help Keep Alex Trebek’s Spirit Alive

During the same People interview, Katie Couric touched on what an honor it’s been to help keep longtime host Alex Trebek’s spirit alive after he passed away in November.

The journalist shared numerous details about her time as interim host of Jeopardy!. She spoke candidly about Trebek and how much he meant to not only all his fans around the world but to the staff and personnel of the game show.

“Alex Trebek was honestly so admired and heralded for being at the helm of that show for more than three decades. I think everyone was crushed when he passed away,” Couric said to People. “But it’s a real honor to at least try to keep his spirit alive, and to be a part of what I think is not really a game show, but is really an American institution.”

Couric says she can feel Trebek’s presence all around the Jeopardy! studio. She acknowledges that people are still hurting even months after the 80-year-old lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. The current guest-host is thankful to be a part of the game show and hopes she would make Trebek proud during her time as host.

“I think Alex’s spirit is very much alive in those halls and in that studio and in the make-up room, and everywhere. I think the folks there are still really hurting from that loss. So, I’m glad that I can just hopefully provide a bridge to whatever their plans are in the future. It made it very special for me. And I hope they feel that I did his memory justice,” Couric explained.