Several people have asked my opinion of Katie Couric’s stint as guest host of “Jeopardy!”
My response is that she’s a broadcast professional who knows how to work in a TV studio, has obviously studied to learn the basics of the job, and has done just fine. OK, whenever contestants don’t know the correct response to a clue, Couric phrases it in the form of a “What is…” question, but that’s okay.
That said, her presence — and I suspect that of upcoming guest hosts like Dr. Oz and Aaron Rodgers — will go a long way to proving that the game essentially runs itself. All the host has to do is follow the rhythms and niceties Alex Trebek established over 3+ decades, without inserting themselves too much and getting in the way of letting the contestants play. As long as the pros in the booth and around the stage keep the technical side going, “Jeopardy!” is a pretty hard ship to scuttle.
However, there is no circumstance under which Couric will be named the permanent host of “Jeopardy!” As I explained about LeVar Burton last November, the showrunners and studio won’t give the job to someone in their sixties (she’s 64). They’ll look for someone in their thirties or forties who can steer the franchise for a couple more decades a la Trebek, who was 44 when he began his long run.
Although they won’t announce a decision for months, I still suspect that when it does come, it will be in the form of, “Who is Ken Jennings?”