Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! We normally discuss movies on Scene Before, but today we’re going to be doing something different. As you may know, Ken Jennings, who you may find on such game shows today as GSN’s “Master Minds” and ABC’s “The Chase,” is set to be the first of a block of guest hosts for “Jeopardy!,” a staple in syndicated television. So as a fan of the format, and of game shows in general, I figured I would take some time to list my picks for people who could possibly, not necessarily fill the shoes of Alex Trebek, but take some time as a temporary host. After all, “Jeopardy” is not only letting Ken Jennings host for some time, but it was recently announced that American television journalist Katie Couric will also step up to the lectern. These picks of mine are not in any particular order, but I have my reasons for including all of them.
I grew up watching Tom Bergeron while he hosted “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” He was always welcoming, charming, and whimsical. Although I feel like recent times have been less happy go lucky for Bergeron. I follow his social media, and he seems happy today. But over the summer, ABC canned Bergeron and his wife, removing him from “Dancing with the Stars,” so now I think there is an enormous opportunity for Bergeron to take on a prestigious hosting gig if there ever was one. Now, I do not watch “Jeopardy!” for the sake of having a laugh, but when the show does get a laugh out of me, I applaud it. But I think if there were a host who can provide a calming presence to the show while also cracking in a little quip here and there, Bergeron might be the guy. Plus, he has traditional game show experience as well with the 1998-2004 edition of “Hollywood Squares,” and man was he classy.
Bergeron also temporarily hosted “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire,” filling in for Meredith Vieira on the show’s syndicated run.
This is a weird choice, but I think it can work. Robert Carradine is primarily chosen through my experience of watching him on TBS’s “King of the Nerds” alongside co-host Curtis Armstrong. Of the two, I think Carradine is a solid pick for hosting “Jeopardy!.” Not only is “Jeopardy!” a geek staple kind of like “King of the Nerds” was for people like me, but of the two hosts on that show, Carradine has always been the calmer of the two. Yes, he has witty lines here and there, but he also sort of represents a fatherly quality. Maybe it is because he’s played a dad for years on Disney’s “Lizzie Maguire,” maybe it’s because a father himself. Either way, Carradine sounds like someone who can welcome contestants and have some fun on set with them. And as someone who has been in a couple staples of the nerd community, “Jeopardy!” only seems fitting.
I do not know if she will end up being a permanent host because she already may be busy with another game show, but I would not mind seeing Brooke Burns giving some answers. Burns has had hosting gigs with NBC’s “Dog Eat Dog” and GSN’s adaptation of “The Chase.” Now, she is currently hosting “Master Minds” on GSN which is a fairly simple, lighthearted, but competitive game where three contestants take on three geniuses for a chance at $10,000. Burns has experience with hosting a couple quiz shows as of now, so it would be fun to see her take a shot at “Jeopardy!.” This would make Burns involved in another project where Ken Jennings has a significant presence given how Jennings is now a “Jeopardy!” producer. One added bonus, Burns can read at quick speeds. During her time on “The Chase,” Burns often blazed through questions on the show’s numerous speed rounds, and while she may need to pace herself on “Jeopardy!,” this tactic may come in handy if the contestants are trailing through the round like snails. Burns is lively, charismatic, and knows how to be witty every once in a while. Give her a shot!
I do not watch much cable news, but given the minimal amount that I’ve watched, I think CNN’s Anderson Cooper is one of the better personalities I have seen.
First things first, when it comes to potential candidates from CNN, you can count almost anyone but Wolf Blitzer. This is not to suggest Blitzer would not make a good host, but I imagine he would joke about his “Celebrity Jeopardy!” appearance in every episode. Anderson Cooper, going back to what I said about Robert Carradine, sort of has a fatherly quality to him. Maybe it is the white hair and glasses. Plus, if Cooper were to stick around behind the scenes, maybe he can write some clues and take some inspiration from what he has used during his time talking on CNN. I think Cooper can step up to the plate.
One of the reasons why I consider “Conan” to be my favorite late night show airing today is because of the host’s chemistry with his sidekick, Andy Richter, who I should also mention, won “Jeopardy!” twice, once against the recently mentioned Wolf Blitzer. Richter comes off as an individual who genuinely enjoys the game and this may make him a standout candidate, especially considering how he has experience on it. Plus, given how the guy is an actor, I think one of the things that makes him eligible is the fact that he really has not been in the spotlight for all these years. Yes, like Alex Trebek, Andy Richter is a respectable name, but I shall reiterate, Andy Richter is Conan O’Brien’s sidekick. Richter has spent much time listening to what O’Brien has to say. During interviews, he is usually reserved, which I prefer in a “Jeopardy!” host. He’ll joke around here and there, but he is silent for the most part. When it comes to that period after the first break where contestants are interviewed, this will make Richter an effective candidate. He does not strike me as someone who will interrupt or shoot someone down. He will acknowledge what people are saying and give everyone their time.
Here is a woman who can do it all. She was Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory!” She has a Ph. D in neuroscience! She is also musically gifted! It is Mayim Bialik! Upon earlier thoughts, I had Bialik’s “Big Bang” co-star, Jim Parsons in mind for the hosting job, thinking he would have an admirable presence on the show. While that may be true, Bialik is the more realistic candidate. Not just because of her variety of talents and overall experience in numerous fields, but because on top of that, she has hosting experience. She hosted TVLand’s reboot of “Candid Camera” and TBS’s recent video competition series, “Celebrity Show Off.” “Jeopardy!” is a perfect fit for someone like Bialik, who is knowledgeable in various subjects, which may help when it comes to clue giving. She can help make sure the clues are proper and correct, and she can write a quite a few of her own if she desires. Bialik is an upbeat and welcoming person, at least that is what my impression tells me. I would love to see her on the show.
Speaking of multi-talented women, let’s talk about Elizabeth Banks. Of all the personalities working on a game show today, Banks may arguably be my favorite. I enjoyed her during her first season of ABC’s “Press Your Luck,” although what really got me hyped up about her is how she handled her second one. In terms of how much money you can win, “Jeopardy!” is of lower stakes. The gameplay and concept is more complicated, but nevertheless. The thing that really makes Elizabeth Banks an attractive option for “Jeopardy!” is her range. When she hosts “Press Your Luck,” she is often a mix of serious, whimsical, celebratory, and over-dramatic. Again, the gameplay sort of calls for that. But I think her mannerisms that she has acquired over the past two seasons on “Press Your Luck” can make Banks a good fit for Trebek’s shoes.
And you may ask for a bunch of these people, are they a fan of the show? I cannot confirm for everybody, but for Banks, that seems to be the case. But as shown here, her mother seems to be a fan. Make mama Banks proud!
Hi! This is Adam Conover, and this is Adam Jeopardizes Everything! Adam Conover has made a name for himself for being the star and whimsy know it all on truTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything.” Or as oldtimers call it, CollegeHumor’s “Adam Ruins Everything.” Here, Conover is basically what happens if you take that blonde boy with glasses from “The Polar Express” and give him a TV show on basic cable where he can shamelessly correct people. But what about game shows? Conover has experience there too. Sure, he participated as a contestant on an episode of GSN’s “Idiotest,” but if you’re wondering about hosting, he has done that too. He has been the star of Nickelodeon’s “The Crystal Maze,” where families are taken on adventures to find crystals in an attempt to take home $25,000. Adam Conover seems knowledgeable and fun enough to stand in front of the iconic lectern, as long as he does not ruin Alex Trebek’s legacy.
Say what you want about the rankings of the “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” hosts. There’s no replacing Regis. Jimmy Kimmel is too political. Whatever. But if you ask me, I think Meredith Vieira has been perhaps the most personal with all of her contestants. She always comes off as open and ready to learn about people, and that may be part of why she stayed on the show from 2002 to 2013. Vieira is also having a ball today on another daytime game show, “25 Words Or Less,” which is currently blazing through its second season with implemented COVID-19 protocols. Not only does Meredith Vieira have years of experience of interviewing, talking with people, asking people questions, but she always seems to do it with a hint of passion. Vieira is dynamic, hyper, and she can even crack a joke every once in a while. Is Vieira my favorite host of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” That depends. Because each one brought their own flair to the game. I think she is most definitely the friendliest and the one who showed the most care towards her contestants, and when it comes to a game like “Jeopardy!,” which crosses the line between chill and intense, Vieira is a good fit. I think Vieira would make for a fun presence during the interview portion and make the contestants feel comfortable. The only thing that could interfere with this is Vieira’s work on “25 Words Or Less,” which may bring up a question mark as to whether she wants to do two daytime game shows at once.
Four of the six main “Family Feud” hosts are still with us today. As much respect as I have for Steve Harvey, he *is not* “Jeopardy” material. He’s more of a comedian than a host. This is where John O’Hurley comes in. Having seen John O’Hurley host “Family Feud” from 2006 to 2010, he is definitely the most collected of the hosts still living today. Louis Anderson and Richard Karn may be a tad obnoxious for “Jeopardy!.” I also think in some cases, John O’Hurley’s experience as a voice actor on shows like “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Phineas and Perb” can help in some clues that may require more expression. He can probably alter his voice for the sake of showing off a hint of personality and humor. And if I had to pick a “Seinfeld” character who I want to see host “Jeopardy!” just for fun, J. Peterman would likely be a hoot. Based on his experience with “Family Feud,” O’Hurley is expressive yet homey, which can make for a good fit on “Jeopardy!.”
These are just my personal picks and are in no way supposed to represent any objective viewpoint or a list of people who are in fact going to host “Jeopardy!” in the future. I want to know, who do you hope to see as a “Jeopardy!” host? Leave your thoughts in the comments! Also, Alex Trebek’s final “Jeopardy!” has just aired last Friday, January 8th. New episodes with former champion Ken Jennings begin Monday, January 11th. Check your local listings to find out when the show airs in your area.
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