Since I’ve written about all the other “Jeopardy!” guest hosts, I suppose I should say something about the current clue-giving temp, Anderson Cooper.
Bottom line: he’s doing fine. Cooper is comfortable being on TV, understands the formatics, respects the game, won “Celebrity Jeopardy!” twice, and seems thrilled to be there. But he’s not gonna give up his CNN job.
The most important lesson of the good guest hosts (Cooper, Aaron Rodgers, etc.) is they’re proving what I said weeks ago — the game show’s structure is solid enough that all you need is a competent broadcaster to keep it going. I don’t think that will change with any of the newly-announced guest hosts: Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, David Faber, Joe Buck, and yes, LeVar Burton. They will follow the already-named Bill Whitaker, Mayim Bialik, and Savannah Guthrie, with former “Jeopardy!” champ Buzzy Cohen handling the Tournament Of Champions in May.
But none of them will get the full-time gig, which still looks like Ken Jennings’ to lose.
Did you notice that not a single radio personality was given a chance? That’s quite a departure from several decades ago, when several guys in that business (almost entirely LA-based) became successful game shows hosts — including Jim Lange, Wink Martindale, Bob Eubanks, Art Fleming, and Gene Rayburn. For the last 10-15 years, however, you’ve had a much better chance of fronting a TV game show if you’re a standup comedian or comic actor (e.g. Steve Harvey, Drew Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, Wayne Brady, Jane Lynch, Jane Krakowski, Anthony Anderson).
Which radio hosts would I like to see “Jeopardy!” consider? I can’t name a single one. I don’t even listen to radio in the town I live in, let alone have awareness of who’s doing it in LA or NY. But there’s one guy I’m glad isn’t auditioning and hope is never considered: Ryan Seacrest.