‘Jeopardy!’: Where Does Bill Whitaker Rank as He Enters Second Week Guest Hosting Stint?

by Josh Lanier

60 Minutes journalist Bill Whitaker is turning the corner on his final week as guest host of Jeopardy! and fans are weighing in on his performance. He has five remaining shows to prove if he has what it takes to be the full-time host.

Most fans seem to be in love with Whitaker’s voice. Like former host Alex Trebek, he has a calm, soothing inflection that comes from years of reading the news. And he clearly knows the show well. He said it’s one of his and his wife’s favorite game shows to watch.

TVInsider asked its readers to vote on Whitaker’s first week at the podium, and while they don’t think he’s right for the job — “I’m not sure he fits.” But they chose “He is a very calming presence” as a very close second.”

On Twitter the early reviews were mostly good.

“Bill Whitaker doesn’t have the highest Q-Rating of the Jeopardy! fill-in hosts, but just one episode makes clear that he’s the most Alex-like of the subs so far,” one man wrote. “Honestly? I think Bill Whitaker is the best #Jeopardy co-host so far. Calm, steady, great voice,” another person posted.

However, they weren’t all so positive.

“Initial thoughts on Bill Whitaker hosting Jeopardy: very clear and pleasant voice; but this first episode was so dry. No chemistry between any contestant/host. Felt very uncomfortable,” one man tweeted.

Whitaker Raises Massive Amount on ‘Jeopardy!’

Each guest host chooses a charity they want to help. And during their two weeks at the podium, Jeopardy! will match the contestant’s winnings in a donation to that charity.

Whitaker, a Philadelphia native, chose a local charity. The Media Fellowship House has been part of that community since 1944. According to their website, the organization “has continued the work of our founders’ mission for 76 years by creating programs, organizing coalitions, and facilitating conversations that promote diversity and understanding. Our efforts focus on fair housing, education, and racial justice advocacy work.”

In his first week as host, Whitaker has raised $129,199 for The Media Fellowship House, Jeopardy! said in a tweet.

Whitaker will give up the podium at the end of the week. Next week, the two-week 2021 Tournament of Champions begins. Former winner Buzzy Cohen will guest host those episodes.

When the show returns to its regular broadcast on May 31, Mayim Bialik will be at the podium. She’s best known for her acting work on The Big Bang Theory and Blossom, but she is also has a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

The remaining host schedule, which you can keep up with here, looks like this.

  • Mayim Bialik, May 31-June 11
  • Savannah Guthrie, June 14-June 25
  • Sanjay Gupta: June 28-July 9
  • George Stephanopoulos: July 12-16
  • Robin Roberts: July 19-July 23
  • LeVar Burton: July 26-July 30
  • David Faber: Aug. 2-6
  • Joe Buck: Aug. 9-13

It’s unclear when or if Jeopardy! producers will announce a full-time replacement for Trebek who died of pancreatic cancer last year.