Sony Pictures Television has unveiled its guest host plans for “Jeopardy!” while the search continues for a successor to Alex Trebek.
The names lined up include Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker, actress Mayim Bialik, veteran network news anchor Katie Couric and “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards.
The bookings announced Wednesday will likely heighten the speculation on a permanent host to fill the role handled for 37 years by Trebek, who died in November from pancreatic cancer. The final week of “Jeopardy!” episodes taped by Trebek aired last week.
The guest host stints will likely play a role in determining who will take over as the face of one of the most beloved TV franchises. “Jeopardy!” airs daily on TV stations across the country, watched by 24 million viewers a week according to Nielsen data.
Ken Jennings, the all-time “Jeopardy!” champion, is the guest host this week. Jennings is a consulting producer on the program and is a candidate for the full-time hosting job. Richards, who will fill in for two weeks before the other guest hosts appear, is also getting consideration.
Couric, as the Times previously reported, will be the first woman to host the program. Couric, 64, is best known to viewers for her successful 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC’s morning franchise “Today.” She also spent five years as anchor of the “CBS Evening News.”
Rodgers, 37, is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and plays this weekend as the Packers compete against the Los Angeles Rams for the chance to advance to the NFC Championship Game. He was a celebrity “Jeopardy!” champion in 2015.
Whitaker, 69, is a veteran CBS News correspondent who has been with “60 Minutes” since 2014. He appears in as many as 20 pieces a season on the newsmagazine, which is among the most-watched programs on TV.
Bialik, 45, is a veteran sitcom actress best known for her roles on “Blossom” and “The Big Bang Theory.” She currently stars in “Call Me Kat,” a sitcom on Fox. She is also has a doctorate in neuroscience.