Okay, this one is admittedly a bit of a stretch, the legendary actress and comedian unlikely to pivot into a full-time role more than eight decades into her career. But she was the first name that Alex Trebek mentioned to Vulture in 2018 when asked who he'd pick to succeed him. "I suspect that the producers might give serious consideration to having a woman host. She'll obviously be younger; she'll have to be personable, bright, have a sense of humor," he said before nominating the now 98-year-old Golden Girls star. While he allowed it was a bit of a running joke between pals, White having once told the New York Post she watches Jeopardy! because "I happen to have a huge crush on the host, Alex Trebek," the two were friendly, so she undoubtedly had his blessing. And it's likely she gleaned some tips during her 18-year marriage to Password host Allen Ludden. So we're more than here for it.
Among the most popular choice of Trebek successors is the multi-lingual computer science and English literature grad who spent an unprecedented 74 weeks in the victor's spot. Also holding the record for the highest average correct responses per game, he returned to battle the Watson supercomputer in 2011 and bested all challengers in January's Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time. Named a producer for the current season, he's also popped up to present categories in pre-taped segments, signaling that just maybe the 46-year-old was being groomed to take charge of the big board. Come Nov. 30, when the show returns to production, he'll begin his time as interim host. But could he make the position a permanent one?
Another bespectacled silver fox with all of the answers? We dig it. The two-time Emmy-winning journalist and host of Anderson Cooper 360 has been floated as an option for Trebek's podium. While his news background and hosting experience (he's helmed CNN's New Year's Eve special for nearly two decades) is definitely a plus, the main factor tipping the scales in the new father's favor is an email uncovered in the 2014 Sony hack showing that he was a top contender for the job when Trebek was done. And while the 53-year-old definitely indicated interest, it's worth mentioning that Jennings was also on that short list.
In a May interview with Howard Stern, the Good Morning America coanchor said he'd be up for filling Trebek's shoes if the beloved host ever stepped down. "I think it would be a lot of fun," said the former Democratic advisor, who's also chief anchor and political correspondent on ABC News. "But I like what I'm doing too." Still, reports emerged after Trebek's Nov. 8 passing that Stephanopoulos, 59, was "lobbying" for the gig.
Not quite the long shot you might imagine, the Los Angeles-based sportscaster's name has been dropped by Trebek a few times over the years. "I mentioned to my producer before that the fellow who does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings, they should consider him," he said of the NHL announcer during a 2018 chat with Harvey Levin on OBJECTified. Faust, 31, seemed fairly game, tweeting later that day, "I'm flattered by Mr. Trebek's kind words, and delighted to hear he's a big @LAKings fan!"
The CNN legal analyst's name also came up during Trebek's chat with Levin. Having pushed for a female host, Trebek noted that the attorney's credentials—she has a talk radio show on SiriusXM, a 2016 legal guide and an adjunct law professor position at George Washington University School of Law—made her a worthy candidate.
It's not all that surprising that the Reading Rainbow host, a man we've long looked up to as an educator, inspired a Change.org petition calling for him to take over on Jeopardy! Making note of how the Star Trek: The Next Generation actor "has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds," the petition has already collected upwards of 101,000 signatures. As for Burton, he's both interested and deeply flattered, tweeting Nov. 12, "Even if nothing comes from it, I can't tell how much how I appreciate all y'alls love and support!"