Jeopardy will air its final Alex Trebek hosted episode on January 8th, and afterwards Ken Jennings will appear as the first of several guest hosts over the next few weeks and months. A new report from the LA Times says that another name has been signed on to guest host the popular game show, that being former Today and CBS Evening News host Katie Couric, a role she will take on for a week according to several people familiar with the plan behind the scenes. Couric has not commented on the report nor has Jeopardy, but we'll keep you posted when either confirms or debunks Couric's involvement.
Couric is a great fit for a guest-hosting gig like this, as she's always been an engaging guest and even guest host on late-night programs (including that hilarious prank she pulled on James Corden). As for who comes after Jennings and Couric, Jeopardy executive producer Mike Richards isn't spilling the beans quite yet but did tease what they are going for with who they are picking to host.
"What I'll tell you is, for the guest hosts, we're gonna look at the things that Alex and I spoke about, which is people that are credible giving the clues, people that can actually give the clues accurately, that are going to be able to rule right or wrong on the responses, and that Jeopardy! fans will enjoy in that role, but that will not try to make themselves the star, and will work to make the contestants and the game the star," Richards said. "There'll be a wide range of, I think, big names that you'll go, 'Oh yeah, of course,' and then my hope is that there's a couple of, 'Oh, I hadn't thought of that person, and I'd like to see what that looks like hosting Jeopardy!' That's the plan."
As for the permanent host, Richards said Trebek didn't want to affect that, so largely stayed out of revealing potential choices.
"He wanted to be very careful to not weigh in on that," Richards said. "Not that he didn't care, because he cared at a very high level, [but] he knew how influential any suggestion he made would be, and he wanted us to come to it the way we wanted to, not because of what he wanted. So he and I spent a lot of time talking about what attributes a host should have, what we should look for, those types of things. He always said that the stars of Jeopardy! were the contestants and the game, not the host. We spent time talking about that, but he was very reticent to put out names. In fact, he said two names once, kind of off the cuff because I think they were just two people that were in his head, and he watched the firestorm that erupted around that. I think that was when he went, "Okay, I'm not going to do that to this process."