Aaron Rodgers On How He 'Crushed' His Prep For 'Jeopardy!' Hosting Gig
By Hayden Brooks
April 5, 2021
Aaron Rodgers is up next as the interim Jeopardy! guest host, replacing the poorly-received Dr. Oz, and the three-time NFL MVP quarterback prepped for the two-week stint with just as much effort as he would a championship game.
"I watched hours and hours and hours of episodes," the former Celebrity Jeopardy! champ told ESPN on Friday (April 2) of the gig, which will see him stand in for the late, great Alex Trebek, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in November 2020. "Luckily Netflix has a few seasons, and I went back to DVR. But I had to watch from a different perspective -- from Alex's perspective. I couldn't watch it as a fan anymore."
"I took pages and pages and pages of notes. I wrote down every affirmative that he said to any type of clue. I wrote down how he would respond if they didn't get it right. I wrote down beat points of the show,” he continued. “I wrote down all the different ways he would take it to break. I wrote down the stuff that he said coming out of break. Literally, I studied for this like no other. I wanted to absolutely just crush it."
Rodgers preparation paid off as he could tell the executives behind the long-running gameshow "weren't ready for [him]." "I know they didn't expect what I was about to bring, but I was just so prepared," he recalled. "I was so ready. So we get into the first game, the first run-through, there's 30 questions in a Jeopardy round, and after the first 15 questions, we go to break. They say it in your earpiece, 'Take it to break.' So I take it to break, and there was a pause, and I think everyone was like, 'Whoa, OK, this guy kind of knows what he's doing here.' One of the head producers said as much. She was like, 'I'm just so appreciative of your approach.' And my whole thing was I felt like the best way to honor Alex's memory was to be so dialed in and so ready, and that's the approach I took. So I was ready to rock and roll."
Jeopardy! is currently rotating hosts in and out of the podium until they select a permanent host. Anderson Cooper, Bill Whitaker and Mayim Bialik will follow Rodgers. 74-time champ Ken Jennings recently confirmed that a replacement will be picked for the 2021 year.
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