Monday's episode of Jeopardy! brings a new guest host — Today show anchor Savannah Guthrie, who shared Monday morning on the NBC News morning show how she prepared for filling the shoes of the legendary Alex Trebek. Calling the hosting stint one of the most challenging things she has ever done, Guthrie said she "watched a lot of Alex's episodes. If you want to learn how to be good at something, you watch a person who is the absolute best."
"The thing about watching someone host Jeopardy!, when you see Alex Trebek, he made it look easy," she said. "Once they gave me the clues, I read them over and over again and made little notes and practiced my pronunciation with mixed results, let's just say." She also said she gained a whole new appreciation for the type of person Trebek was when the cameras weren't rolling.
"I knew Alex was an icon before I came here and guest-hosted Jeopardy!," Guthrie said. "But what I didn't know or couldn't really feel was how much he is loved and missed in these halls. I'm more in awe of him. I'm in awe of his skill, but I'm mostly in awe of his goodness, and it's so reflected in the people who worked with him."
Just as with previous guest hosts of Jeopardy!, including former Today anchor Katie Couric, Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings, NFL star Aaron Rodgers, and The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik, Guthrie selected a charity that will benefit from her appearances on the show. The game show will match the cumulative winnings of all the contestants from the episodes she hosts with a donation to The Bowery Mission, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger and homelessness in New York City.
In a behind-the-scenes Jeopardy! clip that aired on Today Monday morning, Guthrie joked around after taping her first of ten episodes. "I'll take 'Relieved Anchors' for 1,000," she quipped. "The first game is done, only nine more to go. They haven't kicked me out yet."
Guthrie's hosting gig comes on the heels of Bialik's, which was well received by fans of the long-running quiz show. During one of her episodes, Bialik gave a shoutout to her 15-year-old son, Miles, who she said encouraged her to pursue the job. "He was the one who first suggested I give this a try and I hope I am making him and his little brother, Frederick, proud," Bialik said at the time. She initially credited him last month in an interview on Jeopardy!'s YouTube channel, sharing that he was the one who learned of the opening in the first place.
"My older son is the one who originally said, 'Did you know they're looking for Jeopardy! hosts? I saw on the internet that maybe you should find out,'" she said. "He was really, really proud. He's very, very excited. He, at his age, knows the impact of this show. My 12-year-old is a little less enthralled in general with me being in the industry, but I think he knows it's a very iconic thing. And mostly he'll criticize what I look like because that's what 12-year-olds do."