Sony Pictures Television, the producer of Jeopardy!, has embarked on a formal search for Alex Trebek’s replacement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While hosting Jeopardy! is a dream job for most television hosts, succeeding a legend comes with tremendous difficulty. Trebek is irreplaceable. The best his successor can do is fill the void and hope to maintain most of the viewers.
“The next host will be maintaining the legacy of a national institution,” Ted Harbert, a longtime TV executive at ABC and NBC, tells the Los Angeles Times.
The report lists Katie Couric, who signed to be a substitute host for a week, as a permanent replacement candidate. MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, actress Mayim Bialik, and executive producer Mike Richards are also named.
Ken Jennings makes sense, given his history with the show, but does not fit into the parameters of the search, the report adds.
“Sony is said to be looking for ‘A-list’ names — well-known TV or movie stars — who would be consistent with the Jeopardy! brand, which is basically a television quiz show for intelligent people.”
Then there is political hack George Stephanopoulos. In November, Stephanopoulos’ reps were lobbying for the anchor to fill the role.
In May, Stephanopoulos told Howard Stern he was interested in the role but is happy with what he’s doing. Stephanopoulos could likely continue his roles at ABC — Jeopardy!’s syndication holder — if he were to take over the show. Meaning, yes, more softball questions for Democrats during ABC’s town halls.
This is the TV business, so a surprise, unreported replacement could ultimately win the job.
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