It’s an impossible task to replace Alex Trebek, as Exec. Producer Mike Richards immediately tells USA Today. The seasoned game show producer, who is also a seasoned host himself, uses this “undeniable” fact as the entire platform for Jeopardy’s string of interim guest hosts.
During their revealing interview, the trade asks Mike Richards who exactly is up for the task of hosting in Trebek’s stead. In addition, are these celebrities being considered as a permanent replacement? Here’s what we know:
- First up is Exec. Producer Mike Richards himself
- Then former “Today” and “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric starting March 8
- Dr. Mehmet Oz follows on March 22
- Green Bay Packers quarterback and 2015 “Celebrity Jeopardy!” champion Aaron Rodgers takes over April 5
- CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, “Today” host Savannah Guthrie, neurosurgeon and CNN medical adviser Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker, and Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik will then guest host at unspecified dates.
Each host will have a two-week stint. Those who have already been scheduled have taped their 10 episodes each over two days in January.
‘Jeopardy!’ Producer Reveals Reasoning Behind Guest Host Choices
Moreover, USA Today asks why these hosts were chosen. His answer goes a long way in showing why ‘Jeopardy!’ remains in excellent hands.
“Dr. Oz is someone who was very close to Alex,” the producer begins, naming the first of said interim hosts to step up after his own tenure ends. “There are people just kind of in the orbit that I knew feel very strongly about stepping in, not to try out for the role but to honor Alex,” Richards emphasizes.
He does, however, note specifically that “this is not a host competition,” as he doesn’t want people to get the wrong idea about the first season to air without Alex Trebek.
“This is people who love this game, and their respect for Alex is off the charts. That’s how we went about it: Who would feel a connection? Who has the unique talents?” he adds.
In addition, USA Today asks Richards if Ken Jennings is among those being considered as permanent replacement for his late mentor, Alex Trebek. His answer?
“Yes, absolutely. I think we want to look at everyone,” the producer replies. This is exciting news for Jennings and longtime fans alike.
Mike Richards: Don’t Expect Permanent Host Until Sept. 2021
‘Jeopardy!’ fans may have quite a wait for the selection of a permanent new host, however. Richards adds that any “new face of ‘Jeopardy!’” isn’t something we should expect until Season 38 in September 2021.
“We’re going to look at the guest hosts [named above], we want to see how the community reacts, how people feel,” he states of the importance of audience perception. “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.”
As for how Mike Richards thinks Ken Jennings has performed after taking up the torch from his mentor, continue on to ‘Jeopardy!’: Next Guest Host & Producer Mike Richards Reveals How He Thinks Ken Jennings Did next.