Ranking the Jeopardy! guest hosts, so far.
After Alex Trebek died in November, it was announced that a decision about the new host would be deferred until after a number of guest hosts got live tryouts. We’re almost halfway through this surprisingly excruciating ordeal, so here are my interim rankings.
#7. “Dr.” Mehmet Oz
I really can’t think of enough bad things to say about this choice. First of all, his track record of peddling quackery sullies the good name of Jeopardy!. And if that’s not enough, he’s just plain bad at this. His timing is off, his jokes aren’t funny, he talks too much. He pleads too much to get the job. He should never get the job.
#6. Aaron Rodgers
As a Jeopardy! host, Aaron Rodgers is a very good quarterback. He was workmanlike enough but there was no spark. None of the love of knowledge that most of the other candidates drip.
#5. Katie Couric
Too chipper. Too chirpy. “Katie Couric hosting Jeopardy!” sounds like something that would bring on uncontrollable giggles if we were sitting around smoking weed, and someone said it.
#4. Bill Whitaker
Technically, there are no big issues with Bill Whitaker. He does everything he’s supposed to. But his pace is a bit off. It reminds me of responses from a computer program whose CPU is a little too slow for the task set to it. And there’s one more thing about him: he makes a lot of references to the amount of money won in previous shows by the champ. It rubs me the wrong way.
#3. Ken Jennings
Seemed really nervous to start with. Never totally got over it. His voice is too thin to carry the gravitas of hosting Jeopardy!. Also he’d be lost forever as a player, which is a shame, because he’s fun to watch as a player. But maybe that ship already sailed when he took the Consulting Producer role after convincingly winning the GOAT trophy in January of 2020. Or as we like to call it, about four thousand years ago.
#2. Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper was very good. He showed a love of the game, and he handled his tasks very well. I really don’t have a fault to find with him as host. If my #1 choice doesn’t get the gig, I hope it’s Anderson Cooper. So far. We’re not quite halfway done with this.
#1. Mike Richards
He is the current executive producer, so would he want the job of host? Is it a demotion? Anyhow, he’s far and away the best at this – but it’s natural. He has experience hosting other game shows. We miss Divided. Richards shows the best balance of seriousness and approachability, and has plenty of gravitas without being stodgy. If he wants it, he would be the best of the ones we’ve seen so far.
This is a work-in-progress. There are nine more guest hosts to go, and they will be doing one- and two-week stints for the rest of the 2020-21 season. Beginning with Buzzy Cohen, a Tournament of Champions winner, who will be hosting the Tournament of Champions as of this coming Monday. Then, Mayim Bialik, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (a NON-quack), George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Internet fave LeVar Burton, David Faber, and Joe Buck. I’ll redo the rankings at the end.