Will Ken Jennings Take Over as Jeopardy’s Full-Time Host?

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Earlier this month, the long search for Alex Trebek’s replacement as host of Jeopardy seemed to reach a conclusion. Sony Pictures confirmed that Mike Richards, who has previously served as the show’s executive producer, had agreed to become Trebek’s full-time replacement on the beloved TV game show.

Trebek died last November at the age of 80 after a long battle with cancer after 36 years on the job. Since his death, the show has used a rotating cast of hosts as the search for a permanent replacement continued. Richards, who has only been with the show since last year in his executive producer role, wound up winning the job after an impressive stint of his own as a guest host.

Jeopardy also announced that Mayim Bialik, an actress and neuroscientist best known for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory, would host primetime specials and spin-off versions of the show on a part-time basis. Bialik impressed during her time as the show’s guest host between May 31 and June 11 of this year.

However, just a few weeks after Richards was given the full-time gig, he announced his resignation. Last week, The Ringer published an article revealing a number of sexist and offensive remarks Richards made several years ago as the host of a podcast. Rather than continuing in the role in light of those revelations, Richards promptly decided to step down almost immediately after getting the job.

Earlier this week, Jeopardy said that Bialik will step in as the temporary replacement as the show begins yet another search for a full-time host. Entertainment betting sites have listed her among the favorites to take the new job.

BetOnline has fresh odds for which candidate will ultimately replace Richards as Jeopardy’s new host:

  • Ken Jennings (-150)
  • Mayim Bialik (+200)
  • Laura Coates (+650)
  • LeVar Burton (+700)
  • Buzzy Cohen (+900)
  • David Faber (+1600)
  • Anderson Cooper (+2000)
  • George Stephanopoulos (+2000)
  • Katie Couric (+2000)
  • Dr. Oz (+3300)
  • Joe Buck (+5000)
  • Aaron Rodgers (+6600)

Jennings, Bialik Lead the Pack

Bialik’s qualifications for the job speak for themselves. If you’re smart enough to be a neuroscientist, you’re smart enough to host a game show. Bialik’s acting skills and natural on-air presence make the transition to TV a pretty natural one, as well. There’s a reason Jeopardy decided to keep her on board for primetime and spin-off episodes.

However, while The Big Bang Theory is no longer on the air, Bialik is still busy on the acting front. She’s currently playing a starring role in Fox’s sitcom Call me Kat, which is set to return to filming ahead of its second season this fall. Bialik will reportedly host three episodes of Jeopardy that will air between September 20 and October 8.

Bialik would seem to make for a good value to take over as the permanent host at the current +200 odds, but her busy acting schedule may prevent her from committing to Jeopardy on a full-time basis. The show’s higher-ups are obviously fans of her work, but she may not have the time to do it.

As a result, Jeopardy legend Ken Jennings predictably checks in as a -150 favorite to get the nod. Jennings has been a fan favorite of the show since his legendary run as the winningest contestant in Jeopardy history. The 47-year-old earned more than $4.5 million in Jeopardy earnings alone over the course of his record-shattering 74-game winning streak, which took place over the course of five months back in 2004.

Jennings has written a number of books since his time on the show, and he was impressive during his own stint as Jeopardy guest host between January and February of this year. A number of media outlets have said that Jennings is now the favorite to take over for Richards. The current odds at entertainment betting sites obviously agree.

Value on Burton, Cohen

LeVar Burton, the longtime host of Reading Rainbow, is another fan favorite that has garnered plenty of support to get the gig on a full-time basis. Burton has gone as far as to lobby for the job publicly on numerous occasions, too.

Burton, predictably, did a good job during his own stint as guest host at the end of July. The ratings for his episodes were reportedly lower than others, but it’s worth noting that his episodes coincided with the Summer Olympic Games.

The Olympics weren’t exactly a ratings bonanza, either, but it’s still suboptimal timing for Burton.

The former Star Trek star has said over the years how much he would love to be the host of the show. The general public seems to agree, as over 271,000 people signed an online petition calling for Burton to get the gig. Back in April, Stephen Colbert endorsed Burton for the job in his own roundabout way:

Burton’s +700 odds don’t put him among the frontrunners to land the job, but the show’s producers would be smart to take note of what their fans want. Jeopardy’s higher-ups clearly didn’t listen when they made the questionable choice to tap Richards to be Trebek’s replacement. One way for the show to get back into the good graces of its fans would be to install the popular Burton as its new everyday host.

Another former Jeopardy champion, Buzzy Cohen, reportedly received plenty of consideration before the job was handed to Richards. Cohen became popular with fans over the course of his nine-game winning streak on the show between April and May of 2016. He subsequently won the $250,000 grand prize on the Tournament of Champions back in 2017.

Assuming Jeopardy will once again conduct a real search for a new host, why can’t Cohen receive strong consideration?

He’s a natural behind the lectern after having won the game on a number of occasions, and the +900 odds are awfully alluring.

Long Shots

Anderson Cooper, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Buck have all enjoyed stints as temporary hosts of the show, and all three received solid reviews. Rodgers, the future Hall of Fame quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, is likely the part-time host that surprised the most given his lack of experience behind the mic. Cooper and Buck, of course, are among the most decorated broadcasters in their respective fields.

Rodgers is still in the midst of his playing career, so I doubt he has the time to host Jeopardy on a full-time basis. Cooper and Buck may have to abandon their current jobs in order to do Jeopardy, too. While both make for solid value options at long odds, it’s hard to imagine either of them getting the job.

Who Will Host Jeopardy?

As of now, you probably can’t go wrong with Jennings at -150. He has felt like the most logical replacement for Trebek all along. Given his experience on the show and his friendly disposition, it’s hard to imagine anybody beating Jennings to the punch.

Bialik stands the best chance of doing so, but I’m not convinced that she’d be willing to give up her acting career in order to do so. She’s already getting some time in the spotlight on other episodes of the show, anyway.

If you’re looking for upside at longer odds, both Burton (+700) and Cohen (+900) are the low-dollar bets to make.

The Jeopardy job is Jennings’ to lose, though. Bet on the show’s GOAT to land his dream job at -150 while the odds are still favorable.

Who Will Host Jeopardy? –Ken Jennings (-150)
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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