‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host Dr. Sanjay Gupta Was ‘Blown Away’ at Speed of the Show

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Jeopardy! fans are watching Dr. Sanjay Gupta try to thrive far outside his comfort zone.

He’s A well-known neurosurgeon and professor who also serves as CNN’s medical reporter. His task is to explain the complicated in every man kind of terms. And now, he recently finished two weeks of shows as guest host of Jeopardy! The Guptay series of shows started this week and continue through next Friday (July 9).

And like the scientist he is, Guptay calculated how many responses he has per round. He wrote a column for CNN and mentioned all the Jeopardy! numbers.

“For starters, I was blown away by the incredible speed at which the game is played,” Guptay said. “Even though I had watched Jeopardy! for decades, I never really considered the pace of the show.

“I would have 61 clues to deliver for every game,” Gupta said. “Thirty for the first round, 30 more for Double Jeopardy! and then one Final Jeopardy! clue. When I did the math for a half-hour show, accounting for things like commercial breaks and interviews with the contestants, I calculated I needed (to) recite a new clue roughly every 15 seconds.

“In order to accomplish that, I had to be in constant control, keeping everyone focused and moving the show along. One more thing: The goal was to tape five shows a day. That is 305 clues. One every 15 seconds.”

Gupta And Family Were Huge Fans of Jeopardy!

In other words, hosting Jeopardy! requires a lot of work and preparation. Gupta and his family are long-time fans of the beloved quiz show. His parents are immigrants from India. Both were engineers and they raised their family in the Detroit area. The show was must-see television in the Gupta household. Gupta said he excelled with the topics of sports and pop culture. He said his parents always knew the correct questions to answer the categories for science, math and world history.

“We all had our strengths and our weaknesses,” Gupta wrote of his family’s unofficial Jeopardy! competitions. “Any of us could emerge a champion. Decades later, I can still recall the look of pride my dad had when he came up with the correct response. I later realized he was even more proud when his young son did the same.”

Gupta prepared for the show in probably the same way he does for his work on CNN. His job is to report and explain. He also needed to memorize the lingo. The main rule? Always ask for a contestant’s response, not the answer. He also wrote down a handy list of his responses. They included: “Yes, Good, You got it, That is correct, That’s the one, Well done, That’s right, Correct, Spot on, You betcha, That’s it, Exactly, Absolutely, Right on, Yeah baby, Bingo, Bazinga, Roger and Preach!”

The search for a new host for Jeopardy! continues through the summer. Mike Richards, the executive producer, wants to find a replacement for Alex Trebek by the start of the next season. So stay tuned.

Outsider.com