Similar to millions of “Jeopardy!” fans everywhere, Ken Jennings is eager to hear who the full-time replacement will be for the show — whether it’s him or not.
“Jeopardy!” has really shown just how many options and considerations there are for picking an Alex Trebek replacement. In many ways, it’s impossible to replicate or replace the kind of impact Trebek had on audiences while hosting for 37 years.
Since he passed away in November from his long battle with pancreatic cancer, “Jeopardy!” has been cycling through a variety of guest hosts. From Anderson Cooper to Katie Couric to Aaron Rodgers to Mayim Bialik, the roster was quite unique.
Ken Jennings as the Replacement
However, Ken Jennings filled in directly after Trebek, quite possibly the most difficult role. He was the guest host for six weeks instead of two like all the others. The producers spent that time finding other hosts.
Now, Jennings is eager to hear who the producers picked for that long-term role. He spoke with Chicago’s WGN Radio about whether that spot has his name on it or not.
“I have no idea. Someone needs to decide this summer because I’ve heard they want to have a new permanent host lined up for next year and of course they start shooting those shows during the summer,” Jennings said.
As of right now, “Jeopardy!” producers don’t seem to have any of the answers and may still be making a decision. In many ways, Jennings, as one of the favorite and most successful champions on the show, is a pretty safe choice. He also said in the interview that he believes all of the guest hosts had something unique to bring to the table when hosting. It helped prove that the show can work, regardless of who’s at the center of it all.
During the interview, he did admit he would love to take on that full-time role. He even said he’s got his “finger’s crossed” the call will come to him soon.
The Process of Selecting a Full-Time ‘Jeopardy!” Host
Although it may not seem like that massive of a decision, selecting a new full-time host for the show is no minor feat.
Behind the scenes, the show has been bringing in focus groups and using social media to get a sense of who may work behind the podium.
“You want to make an informed decision. We want to go at this with real analytics and real testing and not just go, ‘Hey, how about this guy?’ which is kind of how a lot of these decisions have been made historically,” Executive Producer Mike Richards said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Podcast, “The Journal.”
Although fan popularity is a very important factor, it certainly isn’t the determining factor. This new host needs to appeal to millions, but also needs to be willing to stay put for years and prove successful behind the podium. A decision will be made later this summer.