Fact #1: Jeopardy!(!!!!) is the greatest game show ever. Fact #2: Alex Trebek is the greatest game show host ever. No one will dispute either of these. Unlike any other game show I can think of, you watch Jeopardy! to see people get answers right.
On Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, yeah it was cool when that one guy won with the Richard Nixon/Laugh-In question, and it was great when Jamal Malik knew that Jack Hobbs had the most first-class centuries of any cricketer (LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WHAT A PLAYA), but half of that show’s intrigue came from watching someone fuck up the phone-a-friend, and it’s also not popular enough anymore for me to care. (Jeopardy! has it right with the sheer volume of questions it asks per show: I’m always pissed off when time runs out and there are questions still on the board.) The Price is Right is great morning television, but its appeal comes from watching people convulse just because their name is called and then value a bottle of Clorox at $50. Yes, sometimes people get questions wrong on Jeopardy! and you scream “WHAT AN IDIOT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT,” but the reason you watch it is to test your own knowledge and see how much everyone else knows, too.
Jeopardy! does it so well that it’s depressing to learn first that Alex Trebek won’t live forever, and second, and more tragically, that the producers are thinking of sabotaging the show with the most hated man on television, Matt Lauer.
I will not abide this willful sabotage of one of the best shows on TV, no less one that is as integral to pop culture as Jeopardy! If you can’t cryogenically freeze Trebek, or you don’t want to renew his contract for fear he’ll have a heart attack on set (though let’s be honest, Trebek should literally host the show until he drops dead), then it should behoove you to pick someone that people LIKE, which is, everybody other than Matt Lauer. No mom over 40 will watch Jeopardy! because they will not give up their grudge for Matt Lauer dicking over poor Ann Curry. Good god my mom switched to watch the CBS morning show because, if she can’t wean herself from morning news (sorry moms, but morning news is, first of all, not news, and it’s the corniest, fakest shit on TV), she sure as hell was not going to watch Matt Lauer. Jesus, I can’t stand morning news but I like Matt Lauer even less because I hear everybody bitch about him all the time. Two lessons: listen to Howard Stern in the morning, and fuck Matt Lauer.
People LIKE Alex Trebek. He’s smart, he completely exaggerates the pronunciation of every French or German word that comes up in a clue, and he can make pithy small talk. Though, frankly, the talking-to-the-contestants part is something you should just fast-forward. That makes the Matt Lauer rumor doubly worse: not only is he unlikable, but his only skill is worthless to the show’s success.
Luckily, there are some other “contestants” for Trebek’s replacement (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?). Hiding at number 3 in the link above is none other than Brian Williams, who is awesome. I should fucking be Brian Williams’ manager. He’s smart and funny without being overbearing, and he’s not one of those prissy newspeople who thinks the fact that Walter Cronkite hosted the news 40 years ago when TV only had 3 channels means that news anchors are TOO IMPORTANT to do anything other than act serious and dour in every public appearance. Move Jeopardy! to New York and let B-Will tape some episodes before he reads the prompter at 6:30 at 30 Rock.
I expect Anderson Cooper to get some love, too, because #1 he’s not Matt Lauer and #2 he has essentially the same qualities as Brian Williams except for the fact that he probably takes his reporting too seriously. But Anderson Cooper is cool and there’s no reason for him to be on CNN, which is even worse than morning TV, so he’d be a good host, too, and probably is more likely to take the post than Brian Williams.
Ah, fuck it, let’s just make Leonard the host. Anybody but Matt Lauer. Save Jeopardy! from itself, I beg you.
kyra addendum: I just want to add that I agree with everything, and that I love how Trebek acts like he knows the answer to every single question. He manages to do it conveying a tone of ‘you should’ve known this’ without being overly snobby about it (just snobby enough). When he adds a line about the answer you know he was upset it wasn’t answered correctly-‘no I’m sorry the answer was Louis XIV, remember Louis XV was more of a hands-off ruler.’ Pure gold.