Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ ‘is a lot harder than it looks,’ says ‘Good Morning America’ anchor
At one point, while standing in the spot where Alex Trebek helmed ‘Jeopardy!’ for 36 years, George Stephanopoulos had a major realization
“This is a lot harder than it looks,” he said with a laugh in a behind the scenes video “Good Morning America” shared.
Stephanopoulos, an anchor for “Good Morning America,” is the latest in a string of guest hosts to take on the daunting task of moving “Jeopardy!” forward in a world without Trebek. He’s used to bouncing back from mistakes on live television, but in a fast-paced show like “Jeopardy!” he said the margin for error is small.
“It’s just a very different beast from what I do every single day,” he recently told “Jeopardy!” producers. “You have to be perfect. That’s what the viewers expect. That’s what they deserve.”
Now, “Jeopardy!” fans can see for themselves how Stephanopoulos handled the transition from morning show anchor to early evening game show host. The first of his five episodes — which were all filmed in a single day — airs Monday night.
While filming, Stephanopoulos said he got a front-row seat to all of the work that goes into researching and creating the clues. Like CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who hosted “Jeopardy!” for the past two weeks, Stephanopoulos said he did his best to shift his nerves over hosting to focusing on the game and contestants.
“It is a stressful job, but it’s also an incredible amount of fun,” he told “Jeopardy!” producers, adding that doing meditation in between tapings also helped to put his mind at ease.
During Stephanopoulos’ stint as host, which runs through July 16, “Jeopardy!” is matching the winnings of the contestants and donating to the “GMA” anchor’s charity of choice, Share Our Strength, which was founded by some of his friends.
“They have a very simple goal. They want to make sure that every kid in America doesn’t go to bed hungry and doesn’t wake up hungry,” Stephanopoulos told “Jeopardy!” producers. “And it’s not only a simple goal, it’s a goal that can be met. We can make progress on this.”
Beginning with Stephanopoulos, the remaining people slated to guest host “Jeopardy!” will each guest host for a week through the season finale on Aug. 13, according to the “Jeopardy!” website.
Robin Roberts, Stephanopoulos’ fellow “Good Morning America” anchor, will host next from July 19 to July 23. “Jeopardy!” is expected to announce its official replacement for Trebek when the show begins filming the 38th season during the late summer, the Deseret News reported.
Last year, several months before Trebek’s death, Stephanopoulos told Howard Stern he was interested in possibly replacing Trebek one day, according to the New York Post. But despite reports of the TV anchor’s interest, an ABC representative told the New York Post shortly following Trebek’s death in November 2020 that Stephanopoulos was not pursuing the role.
Whether temporary or permanent, as someone who met Trebek a number of times, grew up watching “Jeopardy!” and was even once referenced in a clue on the quiz show, Stephanopoulos said it was an “honor” to fill in as host.
“I actually never imagined that I would one day be on the stage as a guest host,” he told “Jeopardy!” producers. “It was a thrill enough for me the time I was ... a response on ‘Jeopardy!’ But the chance to be a guest host was just really, really fun. I just feel lucky to have had it.”