Can anyone replace Alex Trebek on ‘Jeopardy’? Meet the interim hosts
We’ve said a sad goodbye to Alex Trebek, longtime host of family favorite game show Jeopardy! The man who made being smart really cool. It’s hard to imagine anyone to replace him, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try!
Although not in a hurry to replace our beloved Trebek, producer Sony pictures TV has decided to put in a series of guest hosts. The entire line-up has not been announced, but the first is due on set November 30, 2020.
Enter Ken Jennings – the winner of this year’s Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament will take over for the late Alex Trebek as the first in the lineup of guest hosts.
Jennings won the primetime Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament earlier this year, defeating James Holzhauer & Brad Rutter in the best-of-seven format. He also holds the show’s record for consecutive games won, at seventy-four, and most winnings in regular play at $2,520,700.
Jennings’ first episodes as host will air the week of January 11. Trebek’s last episodes of the show taped on October 29 and will air the week of January 4. Sony Pictures TV decided to hold Trebek’s final shows until after the new year so that holiday preemptions wouldn’t block his last episodes. During the weeks of December 21 & 28, Jeopardy! will air ten of Trebek’s best episodes from his thirty-six years as host.
Another possible guest host is Lavar Burton. Whether you know him as the longtime host of Reading Rainbow or his acting turns in Roots & Star Trek: The Next Generation, Burton, sixty-three, is a familiar presence on the big & small screen alike and has a solid brand when it comes to just plain being smart.
It appears Jeopardy! fans love him and he’s possibly the only candidate who has a petition on change.org supporting his ascendancy. In September, he tweeted that he was definitely up for the gig. “Not gonna lie, I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life to occupy the @Jeopardy host podium when Alex retires,” he wrote.
“There’s so much about this choice that makes sense,” Claire McNear, author of the just-published Answers in the Form of Questions: A Definitive History & Insider’s Guide to Jeopardy!. “He’s this beloved, trusted, universal figure, and coming from Reading Rainbow he has that academic intelligent side to him. This has been an obsession of fans for years.”
Bergeron, sixty-five, has the most TV hosting experience of anyone who has been mentioned as a possible Trebek successor. In addition to hosting America’s Funniest Home Videos from 2001-2015, he also held that slot on Dancing With the Stars from 2005-2020. He’s also hosted Hollywood Squares and has an Emmy for hosting DWTS.
Bergeron has the classic presence for a stately TV game show like Jeopardy! and, at least right now, he’s free – DWTS let him go ahead of its most recent 29th season. “Bergeron fits into a classic, broadcasters mode of the people who’ve hosted Jeopardy! so far,” says Adam Nedeff, a game show historian & author of the book Game Shows FAQ.
However, McNear adds, “They are looking for someone who can offer stability and have audiences feel comfortable with them. They don’t want a situation where a host leaves or retires after a few years. There is a strong attraction to younger candidates for this job.”
CNN legal analyst Coates, forty, who also has a talk radio show on SiriusXM and is an adjunct law professor position at George Washington University School of Law is another possibility. She’s also an author of the 2016 legal guide, You have the Right: A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police.
In a 2018 interview with TMZ Trebek thought Coates would be a good fit. Coates sent out her own tweet after the host’s death. “I’m profoundly saddened by the passing of Alex Trebek,” she wrote. “When my own grandmother lost her battle w/ pancreatic cancer, the void she left was devastating & unimaginable. I pray his family will feel the love we all feel thinking of the mark this humble legend has left on the world.”
“We’re in a kind of golden age for women hosting game shows,” says Nedeff. “If there was a time for her to come on, now would be that time. She’d be taken more seriously as a consideration than in the past.”
“Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him,” said executive producer Mike Richards. “We will honor Alex’s legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues. By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community & continuity for our viewers.” So who do you think is the right person to replace Alex Trebek? Let us know in comments below.