‘Jeopardy!’: Guest Hosting Experience Was Anderson Cooper’s ‘Reminder’ of Alex Trebek’s Greatness

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Count Jeopardy! guest host Anderson Cooper among the many fans of the late Alex Trebek.

Cooper, whose two-week run of Jeopardy hosting started appearing Monday, lauded Trebek during his own show on CNN. Cooper played old clips from his three appearances on the quiz show. But he said he didn’t get a real feel of how big of a role Trebek played until he was behind the podium.

“Guest hosting was just a reminder of how great a host Alex Trebek was,” Cooper said. “He was smart, he was funny (and) he was authoritative. But he really just had the perfect touch.

“He was a very good and very kind, decent man,” Cooper said of the Jeopardy! host. “And when Alex got sick and was so courageous with his battle with pancreatic cancer, not only did he inspire people all over the world, he also educated a lot of people about pancreatic cancer. It’s really hard, if not impossible, to imagine Jeopardy! without him.”

Trebek died in November, 10 days after his final Jeopardy! taping. Fans have had six months to get used to the idea of not having Trebek on the show. It’s been difficult. But fans also have had fun with a rich rotation of guest hosts. They’ve included former Jeopardy! superstar Ken Jennings, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and ex Today show host Katie Couric.

Cooper Said He Talked to Trebek About Two Months Before Jeopardy Host Died

Anderson Cooper said he talked to Trebek about two months before Trebek died. He told him how much he meant to him.

“He was asking me about some other stuff,” Cooper said. “But I used it as an opportunity just to say to him how much I appreciated him, and what he had brought to my life and to the life of so many people. So I was really glad I got the chance to do that.”

Anderson Cooper, on his show, replayed his old Jeopardy! clips. He competed on the show three times. Cooper won the first time he was on the show.

“I won, I was thrilled,” Cooper said. “I would have put it on my business cards, if I had business cards.”

But the Jeopardy! victory also made Cooper a bit over confident. That’s why he was certain he would win the second time, when he learned his competitor was Cheech Marin. He’s the actor best known for the stoner comedy act, Cheech and Chong. Who wins this round, the serious anchor or the funny actor?

Funny actor won, hands down.

“He crushed me, ” Cooper recalled. “I lost bad. It’s not fun walking into the newsroom the next day losing to Cheech Marin.”

Cooper won his third time on Jeopardy!. So he was pretty good as a contestant. We’ll soon see how good he is as a host.

Outsider.com