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My Take On The Jeopardy Guest Hosts And The Replacements

August 12, 2021

It is probably the greatest game show created. It’s intellectually challenging. The others are generally tripe that targets those needing mindless entertainment or try to rip off Jeopardy.

I’ve realized that Alex Trebek was one of the best ever at this type of job and was significantly a reason for it’s success.

I recall him not liking Ken Jennings in the first couple of weeks of the 74 game winning streak. They eventually formed a bond, which I first believed was due to the huge ratings increase, but later led to their synergy around making Jeopardy great.

I, like everyone else try to beat the contestants and regularly do, with the exception of Final Jeopardy. Rarely solving this question keeps me from applying as I am about 1 for 15 in getting it right. I regularly beat everyone I play against (except my son, a bastion of knowledge), but fail in pop categories and celebrities. Those are issues I know and care little about. The combination of words, anagrams and Roman numeral addition questions stump me. Ken, Brad and James dominate there.

James Holtzhauer gave us a new way of playing, especially in how to bet. To this day, I love those who bet big. It’s not their money anyway if they don’t stay. You have to play to win and betting low is counterintuitive to winning.

Since Trebek, they have had a string of guest hosts. Some were great because they get what is the formula for success is. Others were fame seekers that had power in the Celebtard world.

THE BEST

The permanent replacements, Mayim Bialik and Mike Richards stood out as the best. They deserve the job. They were smooth, invested in the success of the show and didn’t try to be the reason people watched.

Honorable mention goes to Ken Jennings. He won the GOAT tournament and is forever ensconced in the history of the show. I knew he wouldn’t get the job due to other commitments, but he would have been a good one.

THE SECOND TIER

Bill Whitaker and Sanjay Gupta. Again, they didn’t try to be anything other than the facilitator. They were less polished than the best, but no one believed they were anything but a guest host. They wouldn’t have been good replacements though.

THE MAN WHO WANTED IT MOST, BUT COULDN’T PULL IT OFF

Aaron Rodgers wanted to be the guest host and made it clear. He tried, but is a Hall of Fame quarterback and not a TV personality. He stumbled too much, like Jeff Gordan and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in NASCAR. They were great athletes, but not good commentators. The show would have suffered under him.

AND THE REST, LOSERS, POSERS, CELEBTARDS AND SO FORTH

Dr. Oz has been on TV, but tried to be smarter than the contestants. He was arrogant as usual and not polished, despite being in front of a camera frequently. He cut off contestants and was rude to those who answered incorrectly.

Levar Burton tried too hard. He put on his TV voice and his appearance came off as a job interview rather than a host replacement. He was better than the rest below, but his fake enthusiasm was tough to take at times. He had a woke following that tried to get him hired via social media. The show would have suffered under him because he was hard to listen to in a very short period of time.

Robin Roberts was the wokest. She blatantly played favorites with female and minority contestants. A good host (and person) treats everyone the same, regardless of how they were born like Alex did. There is no justification for bias against anyone so this was inexcusable. She got the gig due to her other TV shows where she can spout her views with impunity. It was hard to watch.

Katie Couric should have been good. She answered “you got it” to every correct answer. I counted over 25 times on one show alone. She was the perky interviewer who failed as a newscaster, but her TV ability should have shown through better than it did. The ratings were poor under her and she is unlikable a lot of the time.

The same can be said for Anderson Cooper, teleprompter reader who is tedious to listen to. His ratings as a newscaster (and guest host) explain why he was so bad. Social media pilloried him. He was boring at best and clearly doesn’t have the intelligence to be a host for show requiring a 3 digit IQ.

THE WORST

Savannah Guthrie at best went through the motions. It was as if she didn’t care. She was disingenuous and dismissive when speaking to the players. She also was a “you got it” over doer. I thought she should have been way better, but didn’t seem to try. I am not a watcher of her regular program, but she was bad at the Olympics also, so I guess she’s consistent. She was the one I almost caused me not to watch the show for a couple of weeks, like Katie.

No one will be the winner because Alex is too hard to follow. He made the show great. It’s like having a famous parent and the kids rarely equal the star.

It’s a great show and has been around because of that. In a way it’s like golf, you can never beat it because you can’t know everything. Just try to beat the people you watch with and the contestants.

On a side note, I worked at IBM when Watson played. I talked to Sam Palmisano, then chairman and he said it was a marketing gimmick. The players never had a chance as the amount of computing horsepower behind the scenes was programmed to win at a certain task. Humans still are better to watch. Watson turned out to be a bust anyway.

One Comment
  1. Joe Buck is not mentioned because he is still guest hosting and he makes most things worse anyway. I imagine he will be better than Savannah Guthrie and Katie Couric, but not by much. So far I’ve just hoped that the days will go fast and we won’t have to listen to him. I can tune him out on sports, but I like to play Jeopardy, so catch-22 for me.

    Like

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