A one-of-a-kind season of “Jeopardy!” is coming to an end.
Two months into the show’s current season, Alex Trebek, the beloved face of the quiz show for 36 years, died from pancreatic cancer. Rather than rushing to name a successor, “Jeopardy!” opted to cycle through a list of notable guest hosts — everyone from “Jeopardy!” legend Ken Jennings to NFL star Aaron Rodgers to “Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik.
Now, sportscaster Joe Buck concludes the show’s 37th season as the 16th and final guest host.
Who is ‘Jeopardy!” guest host Joe Buck?
In a recent “Jeopardy!” interview, Buck, who has been with Fox Sports for more than 20 years, recalled how he quickly said “yes” to the opportunity to guest host.
“I always was in awe of the job that Alex did hosting this show. I think the ease with which he guided contestants through questions, the smile, the warmth, the intellect that came through,” Buck said in an interview shared on the “Jeopardy!” YouTube channel.
“Now that I’ve been inside the studio, I have an even greater appreciation for how meticulously awesome Alex Trebek was,” he continued.
Buck shared how he recently learned more about Trebek through the late host’s memoir, “The Answer is .... Reflections on My Life,” which went beyond “Jeopardy!” and brought fans into Trebek’s personal life. The sportscaster said he didn’t know how extensive Trebek’s philanthropical efforts were, and that the way Trebek handled his terminal cancer diagnosis gave him a new perspective on what is important in life.
Honoring Trebek is one of several reasons Buck jumped at the chance to host “Jeopardy!” Over the years, Buck has called Super Bowls and World Series and U.S. Opens. But as a longtime fan of “Jeopardy!” the sportscaster called the shift from watching it on the couch to hosting on the actual “Jeopardy!” stage “a career highlight.”
“To be on the inside of it, see how it works, see the intensity of the game, I will go home with a newfound appreciation for something I already appreciated,” he said.
During Buck’s time as host, which runs Aug. 9 through Aug. 13, “Jeopardy!” is matching the winnings of the contestants and donating to KidSmart, Buck’s charity of choice. The organization gives underprivileged kids in the St. Louis area access to basic school supplies.
Buck’s debut game as host Monday will feature contestant Matt Amodio, who is on a 13-game winning streak. The graduate student from New Haven, Connecticut, has won $430,200, making him the fifth-highest winner of all time during a regular “Jeopardy!” season, according to a news release sent to the Deseret News.
The 37th season of “Jeopardy!” concludes on Aug. 13. The new season — with a new host in place — will likely air in September.
Will Mike Richards be the new host of ‘Jeopardy!’?
Richards — who is the executive producer of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” — was the second person to fill in as guest host, following “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” champion Ken Jennings’ six-week run, the Deseret News reported.
Although Richards’ ratings as guest host were fairly high — second only to Jennings — the news shocked many “Jeopardy!” fans since Richards had initially purported to only be filling in since there was a conflict in the guest hosting schedule, according to Claire McNear, of The Ringer.
On Monday, Richards released a statement to “Jeopardy!” staff confirming that he is being considered for the position, and also addressing concerns over alleged employment disputes during his time as executive producer with “The Price Is Right.”
“It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show,” he said in the statement, which was shared on Twitter by McNear, who is the author of “Answers in the Form of Questions.”
“I was humbled and deeply honored,” Richards continued. “No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing. I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been. Throughout the search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built. As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized.”