With Season 37 winding down and the announcement of the new host very likely coming within the next five weeks, I figure that now is the time for me to release my own rankings of Jeopardy!’s guest hosts.
Tier 1a: The Four Favorites (Listed Alphabetically)
These are the four people that I think have the best chance of being selected for the permanent host gig. I’ve sorted these four in alphabetical order, so as not to upset anyone that thinks I might favor any one over the others as a host.
I thought Mayim did an excellent job hosting. I think she has academic credibility. She has name recognition, being an A-list celebrity. She’s just 45; she has at least 25 years ahead of her in Hollywood. She’d be an excellent choice if Sony chose to go in this direction. There are three other directions that the show could take, though.
Even though I really think that syndicated television in the United States will only really need to last until the end of the current NFL broadcasting deal in 2032-33 (the thinking here is that when the NFL goes streaming-only, which it undoubtedly will, it will change the American broadcasting paradigm to the point that it will sink most local stations), I think that Burton’s age—64—might be a slight negative here. On the other hand, there will be a significant negative fan reaction if Burton is not given the hosting gig. I obviously can’t comment on his hosting—his games haven’t aired yet—but I also think that the past few months of Burton’s stumping has been an attempt to drum up viewer support for him getting the role—and potentially even cause for general celebration, good publicity, and a ratings boost for the show if he does get it.
For years, Anderson Cooper has been considered the front-runner in the Alex Trebek Replacement race (and anyone who says otherwise hasn’t had their finger on the pulse of the show long enough.) He’s also 10 years younger than LeVar Burton, which might play in his favor. If this was five years ago, this would have been a done deal months ago. However, I still fear he might be a little too old for Sony’s brass.
If this had taken place even one year later, I think that Aaron Rodgers would be considered a heavy favourite. Instead, I think that asking him to give up even one more year of his career is a tough ask. He’s the youngest of the entire set, and would definitely bring in name recognition and extra eyeballs on the show. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they extended Rodgers the hosting offer.
Tier 1b: The In-House Candidates:
I’ve slotted the in-house candidates at 5, 6, and 7. No, this job is not rightfully Ken’s, as some on the Internet have liked to say as of late, it never was. I just don’t think that any of the “in-house” candidates have enough name recognition in the United States for a show such as Jeopardy.
Buzzy did an amazing job helming the Tournament of Champions. I would be incredibly happy for him if he gets this gig, but I would also be incredibly surprised. He has even less name recognition than Ken, unfortunately, and that will probably hurt his chances.
Mike Richards would be an excellent replacement for Pat Sajak once Pat retires. He definitely has the name recognition after his guest-host stint; let him take over the reins of Wheel of Fortune in a couple of years. I just don’t think that he should host Jeopardy.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Katie Couric
Here’s the thing: a lot of people are very capable of filling Alex’s shoes. I’ve been saying this for years. I’ve watched the April Fool’s episode with Pat Sajak hosting—and I thought that he did a fine job hosting that day in 1997. Both Sanjay and Katie did a fine job; though I don’t see either of them getting much consideration, they both would do a fine job if selected.
Robin Roberts, David Faber, George Stephanopoulos, Joe Buck
It’s hard to really get a judge of these four. I wouldn’t consider any of them to be favorites for the role, and nobody has really seen them host yet. I’m sure they’ll all do a reasonable job in the guest host role, though I’d be shocked if any of them were in much consideration for the final role.
Savannah Guthrie, Bill Whitaker
Both Savannah and Bill have come and said that they’re not particularly interested in the permanent gig. Both of them would have been ranked significantly higher had they expressed interest (around Sanjay Gupta, to be honest).
Dr. Mehmet Oz
My thoughts on Dr. Oz as a host are well-known. For those who don’t know, I still believe that he would lend negative credibility to the clues on the program. I would doubt the show’s writers on plenty if he were the one to present the clues. Even if he said the capital of Canada was Ottawa, I would double-check other sources to be sure. If Dr. Oz is named host, Sony might as well cancel the show.
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I agree with just about everything here, with the exception of the guest hosts we have not seen yet.
Aaron Rodgers is such a big fan of the show that, if he is not selected, I would hope he could be considered as an occasional guest host.
I agree and mostly I want Mayim to host. I definitely think Jeopardy won’t last much longer if they have Dr. Oz host.
So, when are they going to open the phone lines for audience voting?
Just joking, but not really. 🙂
Is there a way for fans to provide feedback?
Cooper has his CNN commitments and lives in New York, so I wonder if he wants to move to LA? Jennings also has some name recognition; he’s the one person on J! I think of other than Alex or Johnny.
Agree with the rest though. Mike was a last-minute emergency sub because Ken was busy with The Chase and any other potential host couldn’t do it because of new COVID cases in the LA area. Mehmet is clearly not in consideration, for obvious reasons (not just the universal backlash Sony received, either). LeVar would be 76 when the NFL deal ends.
Random thoughts on guest hosts and permanent replacements……
I would love to see this ranking updated after August 13th, which looks like the end of the guest host run.
FYI, Alex was about 44 when he began hosting. I would think that the decision-makers would shoot for someone in that age range.
Also, I would think that the guest hosts with permanent gigs elsewhere (Couric, Oz, Cooper, Whitaker, Guthrie, Gupta, Stephanopoulos, Roberts, Faber, and Buck) would be inclined to keep their current roles. They may have been selected as a guest host but not under consideration for the new permanent host. One exception for me is that Faber is doing fantastic in the two episodes aired so far.
I just noticed that, based on my musings, this would leave Jennings, Richards, Rodgers, Cohen, and Bialik as those closest to Alex’s age in 1984 and not currently in a permanent newscaster/host role. So if my thoughts have any value, the new host would come from those five.
All just speculation at this point.
David Faber for permanent host. I’ve liked a lot of the guest hosts. I don’t even know who David Faber is, but from the time I turned on his Aug. 4 show it just felt comfortable. To me, the most important two things are the tone of his voice and his demeanor with the contestants. David Faber passed my test.
Vote for David!.