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New 'Jeopardy!' Guest Hosts Include Aaron Rodgers, Savannah Guthrie And More

New 'Jeopardy!' Guest Hosts Include Aaron Rodgers, Savannah Guthrie And More

Sony Corp.'s (NYSE: SNE) long-running syndicated television game show "Jeopardy!" will be running longer with a newly announced line-up of notables taking the hosting reins formerly held by the late Alex Trebek.

What Happened: Ken Jennings, who set a record-breaking winning streak on "Jeopardy!" with 74 consecutive victories in 2004 and earned the "Greatest of All Time" title in 2020, has been guest hosting the show since Jan. 4 and will continue until Feb. 19.

According to an email sent Monday by the "Jeopardy!" production team to the show's fans, Mike Richards, the show's executive producer and the occasional host of game shows and reality programming (most notably "Beauty and the Geek"), will assume hosting duties from Feb. 22 through March 5.

Richards will be succeeded by television journalist Katie Couric, who generated controversy last month during an appearance on Bill Maher's talk show by asking "how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump?"

Despite press reports that "Jeopardy!" producers were unhappy about the comments, Couric will be hosting from March 8 through March 19.

Other celebrity hosts will include physician and talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, "Today" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, CNN broadcaster Anderson Cooper, actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker, and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The air dates for their programs have not yet been determined.

Why It Matters: This iteration of "Jeopardy!" has been on the air since 1984 and has become a highly lucrative franchise and a pop culture fixture – even inspiring a long-running sketch on "Saturday Night Live" with Will Ferrell's stoic Trebek being constantly harassed by a foul-mouthed Sean Connery played by Darrell Hammond.

In March 2019, Trebek publicly disclosed he was fighting stage four pancreatic cancer, which created a massive outpouring of public support as he offered updates on his condition. Trebek passed away last November at the age of 80, with more than a month of "Jeopardy!" episodes remaining to be aired.

While it's not unusual for long-running game show hosts to be replaced – Steve Harvey is the fifth person to follow Richard Dawson as the "Family Feud" host – there is a greater poignancy in replacing Trebek following his long and public fight against cancer. Also, the intellectual gravitas that Trebek brought to "Jeopardy!" is not easily replaceable.

The guest host announcement shows the company is eager to keep the franchise going. Whether any of the guest hosts will eventually fill Trebek's position or whether another person is being groomed off-camera for the role remains to be seen.

But even with the uncertainty of a permanent replacement host, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) has offered no hint that it's willing to pull the plug on "Jeopardy!" The post-Trebek show is holding its own against the competition: Jennings' debut week as guest host last month drew an average of 10.3 million viewers, a 6% decline from the final week of Trebek-hosted episodes but still comfortably ahead of other long-running syndicated programs including "Wheel of Fortune," "Family Feud" and "Judge Judy."

Ken Jennings, photo courtesy of "Jeopardy!"


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