‘Jeopardy!’: Everything We Know About a Replacement Host for the Irreplaceable Alex Trebek
Despite the time fans have had to grapple with Alex Trebek‘s stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis, no one was ready to hear that Trebek had succumbed to the disease. While we can’t imagine Jeopardy! without him, we know the show must go on; Trebek himself had even said it must and should continue. Which begs the question: Who will be the long-running game show’s next host?
The final episode with Alex airs on Friday, December 25, and the show is not currently addressing plans for a new host. But in the years since Trebek’s cancer diagnosis, there has been much speculation about who might take on the role.
Former contestants are high on the list, and while we are making no guesses, there are some clues that Ken Jennings is at least under consideration. When we asked the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) champ about the possibility of broadening his role at the show after working as a consultant, he said, “It’s really hard for me to answer that question because it requires envisioning a version of Jeopardy! without Alex Trebek. As great as that job would be, I am not emotionally prepared to do that right now. I have one host of Jeopardy! in my heart.”
Jennings is currently set to appear on ABC’s upcoming iteration of The Chase with other Jeopardy! champs James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter. While this may fill Jennings’ slate, the rotating role of Chaser could free up some time for Jeopardy! taping and, depending on where The Chase films, it could bring Jennings to California on a more regular basis. Only time will tell for sure.
While there are chances for other Jeopardy! contestants to be considered as host, Jennings remains a frontrunner due to the fact that he’s decided to “retire” from the game.
Jennings said that on the airdate of the GOAT Tournament’s last episode, “I got a call from the Jeopardy! executive producer and he said, ‘Hey, in 20 years on the show, I’ve never called a contestant before. But, we’ve been talking and if you’re actually retired, would you want to come work for the show?’
I didn’t have to think for a second because the only sad thing about retiring from Jeopardy! would be not being part of my favorite show anymore,” he continued. Perhaps that love will lead Jenning’s to broaden his role.
Of course, there are plenty of other possibilities. In a talk at the 92nd Street Y in New York City in February, 2019, Trebek threw out the names of CNN legal analyst Laura Coates and L.A. Kings announcer Alex Faust, among others, as possible replacements.
And in April 2019, there was speculation that the show was searching for replacement hosts with a possible focus on a woman of color, but no particular names were discussed at that time.
Or, could the new host be Betty White? Trebek himself, tongue firmly in cheek, called her out in a Good Morning America interview when talking replacements, saying, “I joke with the audience and say Betty White, because they want somebody younger, somebody funnier.”
Stay tuned for additional details as Jeopardy! reveals its next steps. Until then, savor the remaining episodes with Trebek as they air throughout the rest of this year.
Jeopardy!, Weekdays, Check your local listings