Veteran journalist Katie Couric is about to step into an iconic guest role as the first woman to host Jeopardy!. Couric will serve as guest host for two weeks, from March 8 to 19, and a donation will be made to the organization Stand Up To Cancer as a part of her tenure. "The amount donated will equal the cumulative winnings of the contestants that compete during the weeks Couric will serve as guest host," read the show's official statement.
Couric will be one of four guest hosts, alongside NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, actress Mayim Bialik, and journalist Bill Whitaker, who will take over for late host Alex Trebek. "Alex was a legend, revered by all of us,” Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards explained. “I want to thank our guest hosts, who will not only help all of us celebrate his great legacy, but also bring their own touch to the show." Couric's choice of charity is particularly poignant considering the fact that Trebek passed away on November 8 due to pancreatic cancer.
There was some concern from the Jeopardy! team after Couric appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and expressed concern over the right wing's embrace of QAnon conspiracy theories, saying that certain lawmakers "are believing the garbage that they are being fed 24/7 on the internet, by their constituents, and they bought into this big lie. And the question is: how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump?" A source told Page Six that producers thought the comments came off as "condescending" and "elitist."
The median age of Jeopardy! viewers is 64.2, so producers are concerned with how Couric's comments will be received. "The Jeopardy! audience is very conservative. And the show has always steered clear of politics," the source told Page Six. "Katie's comments so soon after she was announced as a host are very concerning to the producers. They are worried there will be a backlash against her."
"Jeopardy! viewers are quite a traditional bunch, and there are fears she might be too polarizing after this," the source continued. "At the very least, she already appears to have ruled herself out of becoming the permanent host of the show."