Jeopardy Host Betting: Will Anderson Cooper Succeed Alex Trebek?

by Taylor Smith
on August 16, 2018
8

Minute Read

Alex Trebek has been the host of Jeopardy! (I’m not going to do the exclamation point every time) since the show was revived and put back on the air in 1984. Back in May of 2017, the Canada native inked a deal to host the show until 2020. While he has not yet officially announced that he plans to retire for good once his contract expires in a couple of years, he has publicly contemplated the idea. Last month, he listed his odds of staying on board beyond 2020 at “50/50 and a little less.”

Trebek is now 78, so it makes sense that he may be considering hanging it up. He was recently asked about who he might like to see replace him as the host of the show, and he came up with some interesting answers. The first name he came up with was Alex Faust. Faust isn’t exactly a household name, but the 28-year-old did recently take over as the television play-by-play voice of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Faust took over in the role after the retirement of longtime Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller last year.

Another name Trebek mentioned is Laura Coates. Coates is a legal analyst for CNN and also hosts a radio show on SiriusXM. I’m not entirely sure how Trebek came up with Faust and Coates in the first place considering neither holds a current job even remotely similar to the one he does on Jeopardy, but it’s interesting nevertheless.

MyBookie has odds posted regarding Trebek’s potential successor. While it may be a long shot, both Faust and Coates are considered to be among the early favorites. Here’s the list:

To Replace Alex Trebek in 2020

  • Laura Coates +200
  • Alex Faust +300
  • Anderson Cooper +500
  • Buzzy Cohen +500
  • Will Ferrell +700
  • Dan Patrick +800
  • Ken Jennings +1500
  • Rick Terpstra +1500
  • Julia Collins +2000
  • Oprah Winfrey +4000
  • Alex Trebek Renews Contract in 2020 +750

Shortly after Trebek made his comments regarding who he might like to see succeed him as the host of Jeopardy, Coates took to Twitter to give her reaction:

So, unless she’s just being nice, it sounds like Coates is a pretty big fan of the show in the first place. She takes a tone of gratitude here, though she doesn’t say that she would turn it down if offered the job. There’s no telling whether Trebek will have any sort of say regarding his potential successor in the first place, but if he does have some sway it sounds like Coates may actually be a serious candidate.

Faust would seem less likely to leave his current gig for Jeopardy. That said, he is no stranger to replacing a legend. Before taking over for the recently-retired Miller ahead of next season, Faust said, “The expectation isn’t that I’m going to replace Bob Miller, because that’s just impossible to do. When you’re there for 44 years, you build up a rapport with the audience and you build a relationship with the audience, and I know he developed a relationship even beyond the TV sphere of going out and meeting people at events or meeting fans at games. That’s part of the job responsibility for me, for me to get to know fans, for fans to get to know me, and hopefully it all works out over the long haul.”

Trebek hasn’t been doing this job as long as Miller was doing his, but he’s still an icon in the television industry. It will certainly be weird to see Jeopardy continuing without Trebek at some point, but at least Faust knows what it takes to be the new guy.

After hearing Trebek mention him as a possibility, Faust also hit up Twitter:

Faust seems like an up-and-comer in the hockey broadcasting world. While serving as the host of Jeopardy would be a dream job for some, it sure sounds as though Faust wants to stay in the hockey game for the long haul. Of the two betting favorites, I think it’s more likely we see Coates (+200) succeed Trebek than Faust (+300).

Anderson Cooper?

Despite having had bright white hair for at least the last decade, Anderson Cooper is still only 51-years-old. You can catch CNN’s top newsman delivering the news in a very serious tone every weeknight, and he also moonlights as a correspondent for CBS’ 60 Minutes. There’s a lighter side to him, however. We see him let his guard down every December 31 as the co-host of CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage.

Constantly having to report on the news has to come with plenty of wear-and-tear. You can bet someone like Cooper (or any news anchor) would like to be able to do some more light-hearted work from time to time. While he clearly has a passion for what he’s doing now, perhaps Cooper would be interested in a change at some point. He’s one of the most respected journalists on television today, but I also think Anderson Cooper would do well as Trebek’s replacement on Jeopardy.

Cooper actually appeared on Jeopardy once when the show moved to Washington DC. He competed alongside 60 Minutes’ Lara Logan and current MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, with Steele ultimately emerging as the victor.

He certainly has the chops and experience necessary to do the job well, so I think Cooper makes for a viable betting value here at +500 to be the show’s next host.

Dan Patrick is Sneaky

Most people got to know Dan Patrick while he was a host on SportsCenter in the 1990s. Patrick became one of the most recognizable faces in sports media and ultimately parlayed his TV gig into a syndicated radio show. Patrick still hosts said radio show to this day, but he has also done some work for NBC. Patrick is a part of the network’s NFL coverage, most often appearing on Sunday Night Football.

What you may not know is that Patrick is also the host of Sports Jeopardy, which airs on NBC Sports Network. Yes, Sports Jeopardy is really a show that exists, and it’s great. Patrick is an excellent host, and he obviously has what it takes to handle the hosting duties. Considering he’s the only person on this list that literally has experience hosting Jeopardy, we should take him seriously as a future contender for Trebek’s current role.

The network is familiar with Patrick, and vice versa, which helps. You can do a lot worse than taking a flier on Patrick to replace Trebek at +800. There’s some massive profit potential there.

Former Contestants

Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen are two of the most infamous former Jeopardy contestants. Jennings, 44, still holds the record for the longest winning streak in Jeopardy’s history. The Seattle native won a whopping 74 Jeopardy games in a row before ultimately being defeated by Nancy Zerg in his 75th try. Jennings has banked over $3 million in Jeopardy winnings, making him the second-highest earner among contestants in the history of the show.

Buzzy Cohen was a bit of a controversial contestant thanks to his witty back-and-forth banter with Trebek. He won over $164,000 over the course of 9 games on the show. Most of his victories were so lopsided that he didn’t have to wager anything during Final Jeopardy, and instead used his time to take some jabs at the show’s host. Cohen also won the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions in 2017, which netted him another $250,000.

Jennings has since gone on to become an author and a popular Twitter personality, while Cohen is a music industry executive based in Los Angeles. Both certainly have the skills necessary to do well as the show’s host, but I prefer Cohen at +500 to Jennings at +1500. Cohen has actually said in the past that it would be a “dream” for him to be able to go from Jeopardy contestant to Jeopardy host. He said, “I would love to host the show, or continue to be involved in some way in some capacity.”

Cohen at +500 doesn’t have the same value as Jennings at +1500, but he does seem like a more likely choice.

Will Ferrell

There would seem to be about a zero percent chance of Will Ferrell being tapped as Trebek’s successor, but his work as the beaten-down Trebek impersonator on Saturday Night Live over the years has me really hoping we can see it happen:

In terms of value and likelihood of actually replacing Trebek, I’ll rank the candidates as follows:

  1. Laura Coates +200
  2. Buzzy Cohen +500
  3. Dan Patrick +800
  4. Anderson Cooper +500
  5. Alex Faust +300
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