The great “Jeopardy!” hosting search continues: Seven guest hosts have appeared so far, from champion Ken Jennings to executive producer Mike Richards and “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker, who wraps up his two-week stint Friday.
Many are vying for the permanent slot replacing Alex Trebek, who died in November, taping 10 episodes over two days. (The final five hosts taped five episodes apiece.) But as Whitaker told viewers Monday, presiding over a beloved quiz show requires a “totally different set of mental muscles” than his day job, and it’s not as easy as it looks.
Ranked: The best and worst ‘Jeopardy!’ guest hosts, from Bill Whitaker to Aaron Rodgers
“The process is going really well; we’ve gotten better” at producing shows with multiple hosts by adapting to their skill sets, Richards says in a recent interview. “We had one guy that was beyond perfect at his job and did it for 37 years, so for us to shift from that to someone new every week or sometimes two new people in one week (of taping) was a challenge for us.”
The list of guest hosts includes an NFL quarterback (Aaron Rodgers); a controversial talk-show host (Dr. Oz); a brainy sitcom actor (Mayim Bialik); fan favorite LeVar Burton, who’s actively campaigned for the gig; and seven newscasters, from Katie Couric to Savannah Guthrie and Anderson Cooper to Robin Roberts. Nine more are still to come, starting Monday with 2016 champion Buzzy Cohen, who presides over the Tournament of Champions.
“You really are kind of changing the way you do the show subtly for every person that comes in the door,” Richards says. “But the reactions have been positive, because (fans) are still seeing ‘Jeopardy!’ ”
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