As the final episodes of Jeopardy! hosted by late host Alex Trebek roll out this week, the game show continues to enlist guest hosts to take over until they find a permanent replacement for the legendary television personality. Shortly after Trebek’s passing from pancreatic cancer in November, it was announced that trivia GOAT Ken Jennings would fill in as the first interim host. Now, it is being reported that Katie Couric is next in line.
The process of finding a successor has certainly been difficult given that Trebek had left such an impact on the show and its audience, having hosted the trivia challenge since 1984. Jennings admitted it wasn’t easy taking over following Trebek's death when the show resumed on November 30.
"It's just sad for me to go out there, in a way, because I know that, like the audience, I wish it was Alex walking out at the top of the show," he told USA Today.
But Jennings and the show’s producers acknowledged how important it was for the show to continue.
"We will honor Alex's legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues,” executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement. “By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers.”
While Couric has yet to confirm the news, the Los Angeles Times spoke with several people familiar with the plan. It will be impossible to replace Trebek, but Couric certainly has the experience to lead the beloved show, after almost two decades of co-anchoring NBC’s morning news franchise Today and fronting her own daytime talk show and production company. Not to mention, she's delivered Jeopardy! clues over the years.
Trebek’s final episode of Jeopardy! is set to air this Friday. Already his last moments on the show have proven why he is irreplaceable, delivering a powerful message about togetherness in a segment that was filmed back in October.
“This is the season of giving. 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 hearts to those who are still suffering because of 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.”