There’s no doubt that “Jeopardy!” has eclipsed all other game show news in the past few months. Indeed, the show has seen a resurgence and gained and kept fans of all generations. After the beloved Alex Trebek passed away in 2020, fans have seen varying types of people step behind onto the iconic stage. From former “Jeopardy!” contestants to news anchors to a Superbowl champ, fans have witnessed many different personalities step behind the podium.
The Former Guest Hosts of ‘Jeopardy!’
“Jeopardy!” alum Ken Jennings was the first to follow in Trebek’s footsteps. From Jan 4 to Feb 19 of this year, fans got to see the Seattle-based brainiac trade his role as a contestant for the host. As a competitor, Jennings won 74 consecutive games in 2004, making him the record-setter for the show’s longest winning streak. Nearly 15 years later, he returned for the Greatest of All Time tournament, which he won. After his time as guest host, he’s now on Jeopardy’s payroll, not as a host but as the show’s segment producer.
Following Jennings, “Jeopardy!” executive producer, Mike Richards, had to step in as guest host after the coronavirus put a damper on schedule. Initially, the show planned to follow Jennings’ stint with a celebrity, but that didn’t pan out. Richards ended up hosting the quiz show from Feb 22 to Mar 5.
After working out the scheduling kinks, the show was back in business with its celebrity lineup. After Richards, famed journalist Katie Couric hosted “Jeopardy!” from Mar 8 to Mar.19. While many fans loved seeing a woman take on the role, she later said that she wouldn’t be interested in hosting “Jeopardy!” full-time. However, she told Poynter that she enjoyed her time on the show.
Next up is the contentious celebrity doctor, Dr. Oz. Even before he took the stage, over 500 former competitors signed a petition calling for the show to remove him from the lineup.
“Dr. Oz stands in opposition to everything that “Jeopardy!” stands for,” the letter read. “Jeopardy!” is a show that values facts and knowledge. Throughout his nearly two decades on television, he has used his authority as a doctor to push harmful ideas onto the American public, in stark contrast with his oath to first do no harm.”
Following Oz’s controversy was fan-favorite Aaron Rodgers. A lifelong fan of the show, Rogers put in meticulous work in hopes of honoring Trebek. Many called for the Green Bay quarterback to host full-time, and it seems like Rodges would love to be in the running. “It would be a dream job for sure, and I’m not shy at all about saying I want the job. That’s how I went into it. I want an opportunity to be in the mix.”
For now, CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper is at the helm. Like Rodgers, Coopper also grew up watching the show and considers himself a die-hard fan. He was a contestant on the show’s “Power Players” tournament but says guest hosting is “a dream come true.”
Who’s Up Next
After Cooper’s run, which ends on Apr 30, Bill Whitaker will take his place, followed by “Jeopardy!” veteran Buzzy Cohen. During his run, he won $164,603 in 2016 and won the Tournament of Champions in 2017.
Mayim Bialik and Sanannvah Gutherie will also be the second and third females to host the show, following Couric. Bialik, an actress, and neuroscientist will host from May 31 to Jun 11, and the “TODAY” co-anchor will host from Jun 14 to Jun 25.
TV personalities Sanjay Gupta and George Stephanopoulos will also hope to leave their mark on the classic quiz show. Gupta’s tenure will run from June 28 to July 9. As CNN’s chief medical correspondent, he’s also a die-hard fan.
“I used to watch @Jeopardy with my parents and now with my own kids,” Gupta wrote on Twitter. “The thing is: there is just something so beautiful and reassuring about facts, simple straightforward facts. I cherish that. An honor to be an upcoming guest host, but seriously miss the great Alex Trebek.”
Following Gupta, Stephanopoulos, the co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” will be behind the podium from Jul 12 to 16. His co-worker, Robin Roberts, will also add “Jeopardy!” guest host to her resume. She will host from July 19 to 23. She’ll be the first black woman in history to host the show.
Finally, LeVar Burton, known for playing engineer Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and hosting “Reading Rainbow,” will take a spot. Over 248,000 fans signed a petition to make LeVar Burton the new host of “Jeopardy!” While he hasn’t been named the show’s permanent host, fans will get to see him rehearse for the full-time gig from July 26 to 30.