'Jeopardy!' Producers Hint New Host Announcement Imminent Amid Low Ratings

The guest-hosting experiment at Jeopardy! has begun to wear thin on viewers, as the show's ratings [...]

The guest-hosting experiment at Jeopardy! has begun to wear thin on viewers, as the show's ratings continue to slip. The episodes featuring Anderson Cooper last month did worse than those starring Dr. Mehmet Oz and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This experiment will soon be over though, according to Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards, who assured fans that there will be a permanent new host when the show begins filming Season 38 in the summer. The new host could be announced in late July or early August.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal's The Journal podcast, Richards said Sony executives will be in on the decision. The choice will "all come down to testing" for the studio. "They've been a part of it," Richards explained, reports Salon. "They know what's going on in the studio. They're watching the feed, the tapings. It's very extensive. It's unlike anything I've ever been a part of, as far as testing in its size and scope."

Richards promised that executives will make an informed decision, since they are a "pretty cerebral group," as he put it. He also said fan input will play some role. "It's definitely going to play into it, and I think there's different ways fan response can play into it," Richards, who guest hosted himself, said. "What we are working on, as far as really understanding what the fans are saying and who's saying it, is very important."

Cooper hosted from April 19 to April 30. Cooper's first week averaged a 5.1 rating, a 7% drop from Rodgers' run, reports The Wrap. Rodgers' first week averaged a 5.6 rating, while his second week averaged 5.5. Oz's controversial run also failed to click with viewers, with his first week averaging a 5.2. Oz had a 5.1 rating over two weeks. However, all of these numbers are lower than the last week featuring the late Alex Trebek. His final episodes aired in January, drawing a 6.6 rating. Trebek's last episode drew 14 million viewers, the most for a single Jeopardy! episode in over a year.

Jeopardy! will continue featuring guest hosts through August. 60 Minutes journalist Bill Whitaker is hosting through May 14, and he will be followed by former Jeopardy! champion Buzzy Cohen on May 17. Actress Mayim Bialik starts on May 31, followed by Today's Savannah Guthrie on June 14. The other hosts are Dr. Sanjay Gupta, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, David Farber, and Joe Buck.

Jeopardy! fans have been pleading with executives to pick LeVar Burton to host the show. The former Reading Rainbow host will finally get his turn during the week of July 26. A popular Change.org petition calling for Burton to host the show permanently now has over 250,000 signatures.