TV | August 23, 2021 12:09 pm

The “Jeopardy!” Hosting Gig Is Reportedly Ken Jennings’s “Job to Lose”

The position is vacant again after controversial host Mike Richards stepped down last week

Jeopardy! contestant and guest host Ken Jennings. According to Matthew Belloni, Jennings is the frontrunner for the permanent hosting job as of August 23, 2021.
"Jeopardy!" contestant Ken Jennings visits the Build Series to discuss "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time" on January 06, 2020 in NYC.
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Last week, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards, who was slated to succeed Alex Trebek as the show’s new permanent host, stepped down from the on-camera role after offensive comments he made on a 2014 podcast about women, Jewish people and other minority groups came to light. After his resignation, the show announced it would resume using guest hosts for the time being while it continues its search for a permanent host. But could that search be a relatively quick one?

According to several reports, former contestant Ken Jennings is the new frontrunner for the job. As former Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matthew Belloni writes in his newsletter What I’m Hearing, “I’m told by two show insiders that it’s now Jennings’ job to lose.”

“[Jennings has] been a good soldier for the show this week, giving interviews lamenting the ‘backstage drama’ but not overtly criticizing anyone,” Belloni points out. “Plus, he already consults for the show, and producers were planning to incorporate more of him into the game.”

“Twitter wants LeVar Burton, but I still don’t see Jeopardy! bringing in someone with a big outside persona,” he adds.

Belloni isn’t the only one reporting that Jennings is the clear favorite.  CNN’s Brian Stelter reports that “most of the sources” he spoke with “said Ken Jennings is now the hands-down favorite,” noting that one TV agent told CNN, “They have to give it to him now, don’t they?” Significantly, Stelter also reports that Jennings was “said to be a finalist the first time around.”

Still, we’ll have to wait and see if it’s Jennings who will take up the mantle. Jeopardy! officials have not yet commented publicly on who the new permanent host might be.