Here’s when ‘Jeopardy!' is expected to name Alex Trebek's official successor
The current season of "Jeopardy!" is still in full swing, but it's not too early to look to the next season - especially after the announcement the showrunner of the long-running game show has just made.
According to executive producer (and youngest guest host) Mike Richards, filming for season 38 will begin in late July or early August with its next official host at the helm. That means fans will find out who can follow in the footsteps of the late Alex Trebek this summer.
But that remains a mystery for now - even for Richards.
Related: "Danger!" Guest host and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers kept some key memories behind the podium while on the show.
"It will ultimately be up to Sony (Entertainment) to make this decision, and it will depend on testing," the 45-year-old told the Wall Street Journal podcast "The Journal". "You were part of it. You know what's going on in the studio. You look at the feed, the tapings. It's very extensive. It's unlike anything I've ever been part of, which is testing in size and Scope concerns. "
So don't play favorites or trust fate with this casting call.
"You want to make an informed decision," continued Richards. "In the end, we're a pretty cerebral group, the" Jeopardy! "- Team. We want to do this with real analysis and real testing, and not just say," Hey, how about this guy? "Just like how many of those decisions have been made in the past."
As for auditioning, viewers have witnessed this for themselves since Trebek's last episode in January, two months after the venerable host died after battling pancreatic cancer.
Week after week, familiar faces from the fields of broadcasting, entertainment, sports and more have stepped onto the podium to act as guest moderators. And while not all of those who have taken the temporary gig are trying to cast it permanently, some, like NFL star Aaron Rodgers, have expressed an interest.
Richards said that while he "wouldn't rule anything out," he would be surprised if the job went to someone who wasn't serving as one of those innkeepers. That means that fans who tune in and talk about the changing cast of talent have a say in it ... somehow.
"It will definitely help, and I think there are a couple of different ways that fan reaction can act on it," said Richards. "It's very important what we work on to really understand what the fans are saying and who is saying it."
However, when you're talking about a show that Richards says can hit more than 70 million viewers a week on average, you don't just have to listen to the loudest responses on social media. It's about listening to those who "carry the spirit of the fans".
Whether those in power who will make the appearance should go to Rodgers or upcoming guest host Levar Burton or anyone with the support of the fan base, Richards believes this will be their only job.
"I feel like it worked out pretty well for Alex as a job," he noted. "It's not a sideline for me, and we knew that."
Related: The widow of the late "Danger!" The host also shared how much he cared about a particular moment in a 2019 episode.
In addition, the candidate must have one important qualifier that Trebek had - credibility.
"Do you believe in them when they make a decision in the game?" Richards mentioned. "The host of" Jeopardy! "Is the referee of the game. So are you buying them under the slogan 'Yes, that's right'?"
Trebek, who hosted the show for 36 years, is really the ultimate hard act to follow with some longstanding "Jeopardy!" Viewers who believe that no one - with the possible exception of Trebek-inspired A.I. recommended by a "Journal" listener - could possibly take their place.
"I think one of the beautiful things, the blessing that came, if you can call it a blessing, is that he really had to see the outpouring of love and admiration he gave to the world," Trebek's widow Jean said recently TODAY Savannah Guthrie on the impact it had. “Some people just don't see that while you're still embodied, you can't really experience all the love people have for you. And I know that in and of itself was a huge inspiration for Alex. "
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