While it was reported that George Stephanopoulos' people want him to take over for the late Alex Trebek — who passed away November 7, following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer — as host of Jeopardy!, OK! has learned that may not be the case.
“The transition into finding a new host, not a replacement, cannot be rushed,” a source stressed to OK!, adding that one potential move may be to have a "bunch of rotating hosts at first and not commit to a new permanent host until the show's audience is given a voice in the process.”
The source adds, “Alex wasn’t just the host of Jeopardy!, he was Jeopardy! If this is not handled right, the show is over.”
Additionally, making the decision even more complex is that the popular competition is filmed in Los Angeles along with sister show Wheel of Fortune.
“Moving one of the shows to New York and not the other basically doubles the production costs. There is no way Pat Sajak and Vanna White are moving east, and the last thing the producers need right now is to lose the hosts of both their shows,” adds a TV source.
Therefore, it may prove difficult for Stephanopoulos to step up to the plate. “George and his family are not moving to L.A. He has a multi-year deal with ABC, and they are not losing him hosting Good Morning America and his Sunday political show, so he can host a game show,” says the insider.
As for the celebs in the running to potentially replace Trebek, OK! has learned that Alec Baldwin and Meredith Vieira were names that have been floating around for years. Then there is also former record-breaking champion Ken Jennings, who recently signed on as a consulting producer of the famed TV show. “Don’t count Ken out!” an OK! source insisted.
In 2018, Trebek himself told TMZ that he thought L.A. Kings hockey announcer Alex Faust would make a great replacement. “They should consider him,” he said at the time, noting that he mentioned Faust’s name to producers. The former game show host also mentioned CNN legal analyst Laura Coates’ name when talking about his replacement. Coates seems to have a special connection to Trebek, as noted in her tweet acknowledging his passing.
“I’m profoundly saddened by the passing of Alex Trebek,” she wrote. “When my own grandmother lost her battle w/ pancreatic cancer, the void she left was devastating & unimaginable. I pray his family will feel the love we all feel thinking of the mark this humble legend has left on the world.”
“Gayle is great, but she has the same problem as George. She hosts CBS’ morning show and unless they move Jeopardy! to New York, she won’t be doing it either,” adds a top CBS source.