As Jeopardy! continues the search for its new, permanent host after the passing of Alex Trebek, experts are weighing in on who they think might get the job. Broadcasting + Cable interviewed media consultants, authors, and academics to get the skinny.
Former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings is a frontrunner. Not only did he bring in the ratings, but viewers are already familiar with him from his time as a contestant. He was close to Trebek and already works as a consulting producer on the game show.
Claire McNear, who penned the Jeopardy! guide Answers in the Form of Questions, said:
He did really well--people on the whole were really pleased. He was smart and he was funny.
She also noted that Aaron Rodgers was "a surprise success” helming the quiz show.
Another prospect is the show's executive producer, Mike Richards, whose ratings as host came in just a shade short of Jennings'. A veteran game show EP, Richards has also stepped in front of the camera to helm competitions like the short-lived Beauty and the Geek.
Media consultant Bill Carroll stated:
Richards has as good a sense as anybody as to what the skill points [of host] are, what the audience might accept, what they might not accept.
Whoever is chosen has to be just the right pick. Myles McNutt, associate professor of communications at Old Dominion University, explained:
Jeopardy! is an example of a television legacy that has a very vocal online fanbase and an extremely offline core audience of older viewers, which has made the search for a new host a fascinating tightrope walk. The various guest hosts are all touching on different segments of the audience, and while the Twitter response is the loudest, it probably doesn’t reflect the viewers most valuable to Sony and their station partners.