‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Hosts’ Time Varies: Could This Provide a Hint at Possible Full-Time Host?

by Jon D. B.
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Starting with the newest round of announcements, each “Jeopardy!” guest host will be limited to a week’s worth of episodes. The first round of interims, however, were all given two. Could “America’s Favorite Quiz Show” be running out of room and time for their guest hosts? And if so, does this mean Executive Producer (EP) Mike Richards has already chosen the late Alex Trebek‘s permanent replacement?

By all accounts, a season’s worth of “Jeopardy!” interim hosts has been a mixed bag. Ratings have taken a sharp fall since the loss of Alex Trebek, with each subsequent host taking them down a notch further. Some (see: Dr. Mehmet Oz) took a far larger toll than others (see: EP Mike Richards himself). But if this has taught Richards and the “Jeopardy!” team anything, it’s that the audience of their long-running gameshow can only take so much guest hosting.

The powers that be seem to know this now, too. As ratings continue to fall, “Jeopardy!” has announced their next batch of guest hosts. While some, like “Reading Rainbow” vet LeVar Burton, are perfect for the gig, “Jeopardy!” has optioned to give each of the new batch a single week of episodes to film. This, of course, includes Burton, who is – in this author’s opinion – the best option for a permanent host after “All-Time Champ” Ken Jennings.

Does this shortening of guest hosting gigs down to half mean “Jeopardy!” is onto something? Or someone? Or are they simply running out of time? Perhaps both?

Is ‘Jeopardy!’ Auditioning These Guest Hosts? Yes.

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(Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

The most recent word we “Jeopardy!” fans have on the matter comes from Claire McNear, author of “Answers In The Form Of Questions.”

“I think we will know pretty soon,” McNear told NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro. “Just the next few weeks, I think, will be the end of the taping season. They start taping the next season end of July, so I think within the next few months we will get the kind of announcement of the permanent host because they have said that there will be a permanent host for next season.”

This is, however, a rather vague piece of “insight.” EP Mike Richards himself has said a permanent host will be chosen before Season 38. So as Season 37 wraps up, time is understandably growing thin, and there’s only so much air time left to squeeze in every possible guest host.

As for whether these guest-hosting tenures are simply cleverly disguised auditions, the answer is a resounding “yes” there, too. Richards said as much himself.

When USA Today asked the EP if Ken Jennings and other contestants are being considered for the permanent hosting gig, Richards’ response told all.

“Yes, absolutely. I think we want to look at everyone,” the Richards replied.

“We’re going to look at [all] the guest hosts, we want to see how the community reacts, how people feel,” he continued. “I felt it was very important to not choose someone right away, because we are all still mourning Alex, we all still miss him. Whoever we put in that role would have been in an unwinnable war, so that’s the reason for the direction that we’ve taken.”

Meanwhile, this author will keep his fingers crossed for Ken Jennings and upcoming LeVar Burton.

Outsider.com