It seems the latest Jeopardy! host isn't going over well among fans or previous contestants. As Dr. Mehmet Oz makes his second appearance as part of his two-week stint as host on the game show, past contestants are sharing their thoughts on his performance –– and they're not holding back. Kathy Krebs, a former contestant who failed to make it to the final Jeopardy during her episode in 2016, said the new host's performance made her “no longer the most embarrassing thing to happen on the show.” She tells the NY Post, “Dr. Oz is doing far more damage to that image than I ever could."
“The whole thing is silly, but then to take Dr. Oz … I felt it was an insult to the memory of Alex Trebek — and to the contestants and the viewers,” 2007 two-time winner Heidi Sanchez said. The TV doctor is allegedly so unpopular among the show's contestants that almost 600 of them signed an open letter last month asking for his removal from the show's roster of guest hosts. "Dr. Oz stands in opposition to everything that Jeopardy! stands for,” petitioners explained in the open letter directed toward the show’s producers –– expressly, executive producer Mike Richards. ”Jeopardy! is known for being incredibly rigorous; a well-deserved reputation,” the letter closed. “To then invite Dr. Oz to guest-host is a slap in the face to all involved.” Other guest hosts to appear on the show included Katie Couric, Richards and former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings.
Co-writer Rachel Paterno-Mahler told The New York Post of the backlash, “With such a large number of contestants, there aren’t many things we can all agree on, but this was pretty universal across the board.” As for his replacement, many fans and contestants seem to think Jennings would make for a good substitute. “I certainly think Ken Jennings would be the ideal person just because he lives and breathes the show,” April 2020 winner Hemant Mehta said. “But there are plenty of options that would make total sense,” such as LeVar Burton, others suggested. “That would be pretty cool.” “In Dr. Oz’s world, everything is a possible answer,” said Mehta. “There’s no room for nuance in Jeopardy!,” Mehta said.