Katie Couric set to become first person outside ‘Jeopardy!’ family to host show since 1984 syndication debut

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Former NBC, CBS and ABC anchor Katie Couric will become the first person outside of the “Jeopardy!” extended family to guest host the syndicated quiz show starting March 8, 2021.

Couric was announced earlier this year as a guest co-host as the show finishes its 37th season with a variety of fill in hosts while it settles on a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek, who died Nov. 8, 2020. Trebek hosted the syndicated version of the show since its 1984 debut.

Ken Jennings, a previous “Jeopardy!” champ and consulting producer on the show, filled in for several weeks after Trebek’s final episodes aired.

He was unable to continue due to his contract with ABC show “The Chase,” so the Mike Richards, the executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and fellow Sony show “Wheel of Fortune,” filled in while other guest hosts were lined up and prepped.

The only other person to host the syndicated version of “Jeopardy!” was “Wheel” co-host Pat Sajak, as part of a single April Fools’ Day episode in 1997. Trebek hosted “Wheel” that day, so he arguably didn’t “miss work” that day.

Except for that episode, Jennings was the first person to appear behind the host lectern since Trebek’s 1984 debut.

Couric’s debut comes on International Women’s Day, as the show noted on its social media.

As part of the previously announced guest hosting schedule, “Jeopardy!” has announced it will donate the cumulative winnings of all contestants who compete during the guest host’s tenure to a charity of the host’s choice.

Couric is playing for Stand Up to Cancer.

Trebek died from pancreatic cancer and Couric’s late husband died from colon cancer.

She will host shows that air March 8 to March 19, 2021. “Jeopardy!” typically tapes two weeks’ worth of shows per week, so it’s not surprising guest hosts are scheduled it 10 episode blocks.

Up next are:

  • Mehmet Oz, host of “Dr. Oz,” March 22 to April 1, 2021, has selected Healthcorps as his charity.
  • NFLer Aaron Rogers will host April 5 to 6, 2021, with charity North Valley Community Foundation benefiting.
  • CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will host April 19 to 30, 2021, with donations going to Hospital Albert Schweitzer.