While guest-hosting Jeopardy! has been a tryout for some celebrities, the weight is off Today Show anchor Savannah Guthrie's shoulder because she has no interest in leaving the NBC morning show. Guthrie's first episode as Jeopardy! host aired Monday night, but unlike other guest hosts, she views this as "pure fun." Guthrie, 49, celebrated her 10th anniversary on Today last week.
In an interview with USA Today before her first Jeopardy! episode aired, Guthrie said she is "so happy" at Today that she doesn't think she would ever leave. "I don't know how it would even be possible to do both," she said. "What was fun about this was it was a lark, it was a one-time opportunity, and I don't think there's any question of me ever doing it permanently. So for me, it was pure fun, no pressure." It would be difficult for Guthrie to do both since Jeopardy! is filmed in Los Angeles and Today airs live from New York City every morning.
Guthrie is one of several journalists to guest host Jeopardy! during this season, the first since Alex Trebek's death in November 2020. Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper, and Bill Whitaker have already hosted. After Guthrie finishes her run on June 25, she will be followed by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Good Morning America anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, actor LeVar Burton, CNBC's David Faber, and Fox Sports' Joe Buck. Although Guthrie doesn't consider herself in the running for permanent Jeopardy! host, she still took this very seriously.
The biggest challenge for Guthrie was getting acclimated to the fast-paced nature of the show. "It's not live, but the game portion of it is essentially (so that) there are no do-overs," Guthrie explained. "You have to keep the game going – it goes really fast. And I knew that if I flubbed, if I accidentally blurted out an answer, or didn't read the clue quite correctly, I could mess up the whole game. And there are contestants who have been waiting their whole lives to be there. So I felt like, 'Alright, there's really no room for error.'"
In April, Guthrie spoke with Trebek's widow, Jean, for Today and NBC's May special Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List. It was Jean's first interview since Trebek's death from pancreatic cancer. Trebek himself was an inspiring figure to all, as he shared his cancer journey throughout the last two years of his life. "I think that is one of Alex's gifts was that he could be very resolute and know that the truth will not hurt you and he wanted to empower people to move through whatever challenge they had in life with a sense of inner strength, inner dignity and love, and love," Jean told Guthrie.
Guthrie told USA Today Jean was "just pure grace, pure elegance" when they met. "She's just handled all of this with such strength," Guthrie said. "She and her kids are wonderful and they're devoted to Alex and his legacy, and they're a real family. They're honest about missing him and trying to go on with their lives and finding a way to be a family without him when he was so integral."