Buzzy Cohen To Host 2021 Tournament of Champions

Buzzy Cohen, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the November 17, 2017 episode.)
Unfortunately, Buzzy Cohen won't be the next host of Jeopardy!

Buzzy Cohen will be guest-hosting the 29th Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, airing May 17-28, 2021, the show announced today.

Cohen won the 27th Tournament, held in 2017.

“Buzzy has been where each of these champions is, so we think it’ll be comforting for the contestants to see a familiar face behind the lectern,” Jeopardy! Executive Producer Mike Richards said. “We will miss seeing him compete, but we look forward to seeing how he uses his quick wit and personality as guest host.”

Cohen has officially retired as a player and will no longer be eligible to return as a contestant due to serving as a guest host, a scenario that this site did envision in the past.

The 15 players competing in the tournament are:
Nibir Sarma
Ben Henri
Jason Zuffranieri
Jennifer Quail
MacKenzie Jones
Karen Farrell
Sam Kavanaugh
Kevin Walsh
Paul Trifiletti
Ryan Bilger
Ryan Hemmel
Andy Wood
Sarah Jett Rayburn
Veronica Vichit-Vadakan
Steve Moulds

Unfortunately, Brayden Smith passed away in February prior to being able to compete in the tournament. His absence will be acknowledged during the tournament.

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If you remember when the last field was announced, it was Ryan Bilger who was considered displaced by the producers to make room for Emma Boettcher. He will be making his Tournament appearance this time around.


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18 Comments on "Buzzy Cohen To Host 2021 Tournament of Champions"

  1. That should be fun with Buzzy hosting. Brayden will be sorely missed though.

  2. A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one

  3. Fred Vaughn | April 14, 2021 at 9:11 pm |

    I can dig it.

  4. Jay Williams | April 14, 2021 at 9:54 pm |

    Until I saw this article tonight, I was counting on Brad Rutter to guest host this year’s Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions but Buzzy, I believe, will do a splendid job at hosting it next month.

  5. Can’t wait to see Buzzy Cohen in May. His great humor and all around fun personality will be a REAL pick-me-up for the show.

  6. Can’t wait to see Buzzy Cohen hosting in May! His lively personality will be a great pick-me-up for Jeopardy.

  7. Doug Bowden | April 14, 2021 at 11:10 pm |

    Buzzy was a home run as a contestant in all of his games, tournaments and otherwise, it will be a great treat to see him host the T O C in May!

  8. center ice | April 15, 2021 at 1:59 am |

    Great to see Buzzy get this gig — he’s a really colorful guy and a memorable contestant. To borrow an old-time description, he’s a “sharp cookie” who looks to be a great fit in this role.

  9. Looking forward to this! Buzzy will be a great host!
    I’m already rooting for MacKenzie Jones!

  10. Buzzy seems like a nice guy, and is certainly a strong contestant (although Jerry Vinokurov’s Final Jeopardy over-think really bailed him out in his second game). But I find his on-camera persona pretty off-putting. I think he has the self-awareness to tone it down a bit as host, but this seems like a bit of a risk for Jeopardy. Virtually everyone else they’ve brought on as a guest host has some sort of professional hosting or media experience, and as far as I know Buzzy does not (please do correct me if I’m wrong about this!). He’d be a decent choice for a regular guest host slot (again, wouldn’t be my pick, but I’d get it), but I would have preferred like to see someone a bit more seasoned come in for the ToC. You don’t pick an inexperienced broadcaster to call the Super Bowl on his first day–you go to your strongest proven talent. Ken seems like the obvious pick.

    Seems to be a lot of support for this decision online, so perhaps I’m missing something everyone else is seeing, but this is another L in a long string of them in my view. I do like that the producers went to someone in the “Jeopardy family” which they promised to do when they announced the guest hosting schtick but then haven’t, really, aside from Ken and (kind of) Aaron Rogers.

    Feels like a weaker field for this ToC beyond Jason, Jennifer, and MacKenzie. I think Ryan Bilger is very good and I love the way Sam Kavanaugh plays, so I’ll be rooting for those guys too. The absence of Braden stings, though. RIP.

    • Likely a weaker field overall because of Covid 19 reducing the pool of candidates for the game. Braden also won’t be there unfortunately.

  11. Looking forward to Buzzie hosting! I see Jason Z and Jennifer Q as solid favorites to be finalists, while Braydon would have one of a few with better than average chances to be the third finalist. Steve Moulds taking Braydon’s spot is an easy decision based on $ earned, but I would have loved a “wild card round”, with Steve, Elise Nussbaum, and Jessica Babbitt competing to earn that spot. Elise’s $21,500 Coryat is higher than almost all of the 15 in this TOC. Oh, well!

  12. You’ve mentioned that Buzzy had to retire as a player to take this (which makes sense) and linked to an old article that explains that, but the article seems to say that they can’t host because of their ties to the community, which isn’t quite the issue in today’s article but fair enough. So does acting as guest host count? As guest host he has the same community ties as regular host that being a player afforded him, so does that disqualify people from being on? Or would being guest host be ok but not permanent host? (Which would be sad as I’d like to see Ken get the job – your article seems to say he won’t despite having been a guest host and currently a producer, both of which would disqualify trivia folk with connections to Ken I would think)

  13. James Cardillo | April 16, 2021 at 11:34 am |

    This should be good fodder for the overall discussion about “Who is the star of J!? Is it the host or the contestants?”

    Alex always said that the contestants are the stars. When you bring in a guest host with such a strong presence, you run the risk of making the show about the host and not the game itself.

    • Great point! James! While people are naturally drawn to celebrities such as Aaron Rodgers, Ken Jennings, and media darlings whether on the political left or right, let’s ask who’s best in making the contestant the star, in making them shine? It may be one of them but very possibly not!

  14. Great news! Can Buzzy take it over permanently? I think he once told Trebek he wanted his job, before Alex’s health became an issue…. Alex told him he wasn’t going anywhere…..

  15. Brad (not Rutter) | April 19, 2021 at 5:08 pm |

    Looking forward to watching this. Still hoping Rutter gets a shot.

  16. Can’t wait for Buzzy next week. I hope he gets a shot at permanent replacement host. Bye-Bye, Whittaker – zzzzzzzzzz.

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