Katie Couric finished up her two-week run on Jeopardy! Friday night, and will pass the baton to The Dr. Oz Show host Dr. Mehmet Oz. He will take over the beloved game show from Monday, March 22 to Friday, April 2. Oz is easily the most controversial of all the celebrities who are standing in for the late Alex Trebek while producers search for a permanent replacement. From the moment Oz was named one of the guest hosts, longtime Jeopardy! fans have been crushed to see him because of Oz's reputation for sharing questionable medical advice on his show and his controversial comments during the coronavirus pandemic.
Executive producer Mike Richards, who was the second guest host to fill in for Trebek this year, told USA Today Oz, 60, was picked because of his relationship with Trebek. "Dr. Oz is someone who was very close to Alex," Richards explained. He said the guest roster was made up of "people just kind of in the orbit that I knew feel very strongly about stepping in, not to try out for the role but to honor Alex."
Since Oz became a television personality through his association with Oprah Winfrey, he has been the frequent target of criticism for advocating for alternative medicine. He has also been the subject of studies that show recommendations he made on his show have been contradicted by medical research. During President Donald Trump's administration, he searched on the resident's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.
In April 2020, Oz went viral when he advocated for re-opening schools early on during the coronavirus pandemic. "First, we need our mojo back," Oz told Fox News host Sean Hannity. He said some things could be re-opened "without getting into a lot of trouble," including schools. He claimed to resume classes "may only cost us 2 to 3% in terms of total mortality." Then, he suggested this death rate "might be a trade-off some folks would consider."
Later, Oz issued an apology on Twitter, notes the Washington Post. "I misspoke," he said, adding that he understands his words "confused and upset people." He said his goal was to discuss "how do we get our children safely back to school" since he is "asked constantly how we'll be able to get people back to their normal lives." Aside from this controversy, Oz also mentioned hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in March on Fox News, reportedly leading Trump to push the drug.
After Oz was named one of the Jeopardy! guest hosts in February, the show was instantly criticized. Even some former contestants spoke out. "I am but a lowly bronze medalist, but I'll join the contestant chorus to say having Dr. Oz guest host is a terrible idea and antithetical to [Jeopardy!]'s values," contestant Meghan Winch wrote. "I'm adding my voice to the Jeopardy! contestants expressing that we are not ok with Dr. Oz being given the honor of a guest host role," Kristin Sausville wrote. "Jeopardy! celebrates knowledge and facts and Dr. Oz has largely broken from that in his medical advice."