UPDATE: Since the writing of this post, Mike Richards has bowed out from the host role, over past controversial statements – read the update in MediaPost.
After the death of long-time host, Alex Trebek, who served behind the lectern at Jeopardy! for nearly 37 years, Jeopardy! had a series of celebrity guest hosts come in and vie for the permanent gig.
Guest hosts included Ken Jennings, Mike Richards, Katie Couric, LeVar Burton, Dr. Mehmet Oz. Aaron Rodgers, Anderson Cooper, Bill Whitaker, Buzzy Cohen and Mayim Bialik. The show recently announced that Mike Richards and Mayin Bialik would be taking over the reins as Jeopardy! hosts. While this sparked some controversy amongst fans who believed the coveted host spot would go to a more high-profile celebrity, our data demonstrates that this decision made complete sense from a numbers standpoint.
Mike Richards averaged 2.26M viewers per episode for the 10 episodes he hosted between February 22 and March 5 this year. While Ken Jennings came out slightly ahead, averaging 2.33M viewers per episode for the 30 episodes he hosted, his relative performance compared to the previous year (when Trebek was host) was less favorable. Richards’ performance came closest to that of Trebek’s for the same time period during the prior year.
As the guest host period wore on, audience size fell steadily. Whether Jeopardy! fans grew tired of the process or found later guest hosts less interesting is unclear, but by the time write-in candidate LeVar Burton took his turn, 28 weeks from the start of the process, the audience had petered out.
For more information, read the article here.
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