AND NOW HERE IS THE HOST OF JEOPARDY…AARON RODGERS!
It’s a reality, at least for this week. The Packers QB is going to host ten shows before April 16. So far, what we have seen has been decent, pretty good frankly. After all, Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have the deep TV background that other guests hosts have come in with.
Rodgers says it would be a dream come true to get the job full time, and he is serious about trying to make that dream a reality. He told The Ringer that he is capable of being a quarterback and hosting a daily gameshow simultaneously. Jeopardy actually has a pretty limited shooting schedule.
That’s a nice idea. Could it ever really become a reality? Frankly, I also wonder how interested in Rodgers the producers at Jeopardy actually are. For sports fans, Aaron Rodgers is a super star, but does his name have the same caché to the average American?
“I think so but it doesn’t matter because he’s really good at it and if you are fan of the show that’s what you want,” Stugotz told me. He says that Aaron may surprise some Jeopardy fans with just how perfectly he could fit their expectations. “Someone who loved Alex, loves the show, respects the position, will treat it with care, is super smart, good sense of humor and who is really good at it. Aaron checks all those boxes.”
CBS Sports Radio night time host JR Jackson agrees that Rodgers could be an ideal fit. He says it isn’t a problem if Rodgers isn’t a household name for people that aren’t sports fans, because he could bring a whole new audience to the show. As long as Jeopardy stays Jeopardy, the longtime fans will likely stay.
“No one can fill the shoes of Alex Trebek, but Rodgers would bring his own flair, and an expanded audience of curious football fans with him,” he tells me.
This is all so strange to me. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to see Aaron Rodgers hosting Jeopardy. I think he could be really good. The guy has just never struck me as the type that is interested in a career on television. I can’t even really picture him in a more traditional TV role for ex-football players.
“He has criticized the media for sensationalism so I think he has a real interest in what is said and how it is said, New York Post reporter Andrew Marchand reminds me. “In terms of being in the booth, he hasn’t gotten that much buzz, however, if it were something he wanted to do post-playing, he would be able to get a job.”
What if Aaron Rodgers were offered the job but told that it would have to be his top priority? Is he willing to walk away from football to be the full-time host of Jeopardy? He gave an interesting answer to that question when asked earlier this week.
“I want to keep playing, you know. I still have the passion and the fire, and this last season just reminded me and I think a lot of people that I can still play and still play at a really, really high level, and I feel like I can do this for a number of years moving forward,” he told Good Morning America.
It is interesting to note that Rodgers didn’t say there was no way he would walk away from football. If the next host gets paid the way the late Alex Trebek reportedly did, it could be a little easier to give up NFL starting quarterback money. At the time of his death, Jeopardy was reportedly paying Trebek $10 million per year. ESPN’s Bomani Jones told me that should be more than enough to make anyone reconsider playing in the NFL.
“There’s a reason I’m not a football player,” he said in a text. “Because you offer me even one million and I don’t have to get hit for it, and I forget I was ever in the NFL.”
Stugotz told me that he wouldn’t even need to be paid in the millions. If Rodgers won’t give up football and that is a problem for Jeopardy producers, Dan Le Batard’s co-host wants them to know that he comes cheap.
“$500,000,” he says flatly when I ask for his price. “I think even Aaron would agree if given a few reps I’d probably be better.” I tell him that is the perfect answer and he quickly fires back “I was thinking of saying 50k.”
Jackson says he wouldn’t mind seeing Rodgers walk away to become a gameshow host. “I need the headline, ‘Packers Move on from Rodgers, QBs Next Move is Jeopardy’. I can dream right?”
It would certainly be one of the most unique A blocks in sports radio history.
The part of this that I am having some trouble with is the idea of Rodgers on TV. Sure, he can be entertaining, but I have never thought of him as having a big personality. Isn’t that a prerequisite for being a gameshow host? The only other ex-football player hosting a game show I can think of is Michael Strahan. He just brings very palpable charisma. I am not sure Rodgers is capable of that.
Andrew Marchand tells me I am overthinking it. Rodgers doesn’t want to be a gameshow host. He wants to be the host of Jeopardy.
“I think his appeal is specific to Jeopardy,” he tells me in an email. “He has a true affection for the program and for Alex Trebek. That passion translates. So I don’t think he would be considered — and I suspect he wouldn’t be interested — in any other game shows. This program only features some small talk and it is taped in advance so I think he probably has enough skills to do it full-time.”
At the end of the day, it is hard not to root for this to happen. As Jackson points out, the headline is amazing. Also, what better middle finger to the team that drafted your replacement when you told them you needed weapons is there than saying “Screw you! I’d rather go quiz nerds than wear green and yellow ever again!”?
That’s probably not how this will go down. Besides, there is a lot of competition for the opening. Rodgers may not be producers’ first choice to step in for Alex Trebek, but across the sports media there is clearly no shortage of people that think it would make a lot of sense.