Katie Couric made “Jeopardy!” history Monday night when she debuted as guest-host, becoming the first woman to host the beloved game show— coincidentally, her premiere coincided with International Women’s Day. After the longtime host, Alex Trebek, passed away last year after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Ken Jennings and Mike Richards took the stage to try their hand as interim host.
Couric was first up in a slew of celebrity hosts set to appear as a guest host. During an interview, the veteran journalist revealed how she got herself ready and who she paid attention to most to prepare for the hosting gig.
“I watched the show a lot— I watch it regularly, but I started watching it religiously,” Couric said. “I spent a lot of time watching Alex, how he moved from category to category, how he phrased his clues, how he solicited responses, how he interacted with contestants and I learned a lot just through observation.”
Before getting into heavy gameplay on Monday, she kicked off the show with a heartwarming tribute to Trebek. “It is such a thrill to be here guest hosting a show I’ve watched and loved for years. And of course, a real honor to help out as all of us recover from the loss of the truly irreplaceable Alex Trebek,” Couric said.
Katie Couric Makes Announcement During ‘Jeopardy!’ Debut
In addition, Katie Couric also made a special announcement: “Jeopardy!” will be matching the winnings from each show I guest host and donating that amount to the pancreatic cancer dream team from Stand Up To Cancer. So thank you, “Jeopardy!” Now let’s have some fun.”
While getting the opportunity to host ‘Jeopardy!’ is a whirlwind in itself, for Couric, it was all the more special: she’s raising funds for pancreatic cancer research. In 2001, the disease took the life of her sister, Emily, at age 54. In addition, it also took Trebek’s life last November, at age 80. She also hopes to make viewers more aware of the importance of colon cancer screening. In 1998, Couric lost her husband, Jay Monahan, from the disease at age 42.