While speaking in an exclusive interview before his Jeopardy! guest-hosting debut, Bill Whitaker revealed which colleague he wants to compete on the game show.
The 60 Minutes journalist hosted the famous quiz show for the first time earlier this evening. He took over hosting duties from Anderson Cooper, whose two-week stint on the show came to an end on Friday. Whitaker is the third Jeopardy! guest host with a background in journalism, including Cooper and Katie Couric. Yet he thinks another 60 Minutes colleague of his would also make a great contestant on the game show.
“Well everybody I work with is really smart. So I think they would all do a good job. Um, Lesley Stahl would be pretty terrific. She knows a lot. So yea, I’d recommend Lesley,” Whitaker says with a laugh before addressing her directly. “Lesley, come to Jeopardy!. I think she’d be a terrific candidate.”
Stahl has reported on 60 Minutes since 1991, and might just make for a solid choice as a contestant on Jeopardy!. In fact, the late iconic Alex Trebek would agree with Whitaker’s assessment.
During a 2012 interview with CBS, the longtime game show host shared professions he thought made for good contestants. He mentioned lawyers, teachers, and students, but one other above all. He also said that players with quick reaction times tend to join the winner’s circle. Therefore Trebek pointed out one specific profession with that attribute that he thinks makes for the perfect Jeopardy! contestant.
“Journalists also. We discovered that, of course, in our power players tournament in Washington last week, but people who are used to thinking on their feet. They have to come back with correct responses to people who quiz them and answer spur of the moment,” Trebek said in the CBS interview.
‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host Bill Whitaker’s Advice For Contestants
During the same interview, interim host Bill Whitaker opened up about his love for the game show. He also revealed his own personal advice for contestants.
The 60 Minutes journalist took over the hosting role as of Monday night. As Whitaker takes the podium for the next two weeks, he’s shared further thoughts on how much Jeopardy! means to him and his wife as well.
Whitaker and his wife watch Jeopardy! together religiously. They even pause the show after each question and discuss every answer before continuing with the show. He calls Jeopardy! the couple’s “favorite show” and says they catch up on episodes every night he’s home. Yet Whitaker admits they frequently get the questions wrong even though that doesn’t deter the couple from playing along as much as they can.
That’s why Whitaker says he admires Jeopardy!‘s contestants. He calls them “amazing” and is always left impressed by their intelligence on such a wide variety of topics.
“I don’t understand how they do what they do,” Whitaker says of the Jeopardy! contestants. “It’s really amazing.”
Additionally, Whitaker shared his own tips for interested contestants. In his opinion, reading, watching the news, and keeping up with current events could give you a leg up on the competition.
“Just read. Be involved, be engaged. Watch the news, watch 60 Minutes. Know what’s going on in the world. I think that’s what makes you a good contestant,” he explained.