With the final week of Alex Trebek at the helm of Jeopardy! upon us, a few thoughts:
• According to a press release from Sony, Trebek makes notable comments at the top of Monday's show (January 4), and there will be a tribute segment at the end of Friday's show.
• It seems we're maybe going to get a series of guest hosts for a while, and I think that's an excellent idea. There's no need to rush into anointing the successor; take the time to get it right.
• In the following week (January 11), uber-champion Ken Jennings begins his turn as guest host. His aptitude for this seems to have been met with some skepticism among fans, but I say give him his chance. He's had enough time in the limelight to become at ease with it, and his ability to do the schmoozing with contestants might surprise us all. Or not. My gut feeling is that he will not become the permanent host, but who knows.
• Quite forgotten amidst all this is the one fine audition that's already in the can: Jeff Probst's 100-episode stint as host of Rock & Roll Jeopardy! (1998-2001) on VH1; episodes also aired on the Game Show Network for a time. He's a smooth question reader and an amiable personality, and his long tenure on Survivor has only made him more capable. Sometimes the solution is right under your nose …
• Other possibilities? This is difficult, since we don't really have professional game show emcees anymore; Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak is now the last of the old guard. As I've said before, it's unfortunate that third-tier comedians and random actors have become the go-to choices to host game shows. It's been reported that politico George Stephanopoulos has expressed interest in the gig. He's a nice chap — give him his turn as guest host — but I don't think he's The One. I think one direction to consider might be a larger than life personality — the Millionaire team had the right idea when they snagged Regis Philbin. It will take someone with gravity and gravitas to successfully follow Alex Trebek.
An episode of Rock & Roll Jeopardy: