As the ongoing search for a permanent host to succeed Alex Trebek at the lectern on Jeopardy! continues, the official word on the ratings of Trebek's final episode as host have been released. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the final week of shows featuring Trebek at the lead averaged "11.12 million daily viewers for the week," marking its biggest ratings since April of last year. His final episode which aired Friday, January 8 (and had been taped just ten days before Trebek's death) had over 14 million viewers though, marking the highest ratings for an individual episode of the series since June of 2019, which was the final episode of Jeopardy! GOAT competitor James Holzhauer's original 32-game winning streak
“The search is going very well, there are a lot of people very interested in hosting Jeopardy!, which is gratifying, and also appropriately reverent of the shoes they will be stepping into. We have had some great conversations with people," series executive producer Mike Richards previously told Deadline. “We are going to take our time and talk to a lot of people, have some people guest host and see what our fans think as well."
Richards will serve as one of the interim hosts for the series after Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings whose tenure is ongoing. Other confirmed interim hosts that will appear on the series include journalist/presenter Katie Couric, Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, 60 Minutes host Bill Whitaker, and The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik. Richards previously confirmed that a new permanent host will not be named until the spring of this year, and not everyone who acts as an interim host is actually auditioning.
"You will also see big-name people who are not going to be considered for the role but they just love the show, love Alex and wanted to pay tribute,” Richards said. “So not everyone who comes on is auditioning. We are going to go in a lot of different directions, I don’t think we want to be in a hurry to name a new person. We all are still mourning the loss — certainly I am — of Alex, and I think just turning around and naming someone would be irresponsible and not thoughtful, which is antithesis of Jeopardy!“
Trebek hosted Jeopardy! for over three decades, continuing to do so even after publicly announcing his cancer diagnosis in March of 2019. In the year and a half that followed, Trebek continued to update fans on his condition -- as well as the emotional struggles he felt while undergoing that journey.
Trebek had something special planned for the people out there watching during one of his final episodes, saying: “I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones. But, today I’d like you to go one step further. I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your heart to those who are still suffering from COVID-19. People who are suffering through no fault of their own. We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society. And if we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re gonna get there.”
(Cover photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)