As explained on Friday night, I’ve seen enough from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers as the guest host of Jeopardy! to believe that they should just give him the full-time job. This week, he gets a chance to strengthen his case to succeed the late Alex Trebek.
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike (not Michael) Richards spoke with Peter King of Football Morning in America about Rodgers’ performance.
“The intensity goes up in the real game, which Aaron found out,” Richards told King. “You can see, even with the second show, his voice got better, his command got better, he started to enjoy it and have fun. But the truth is, you never truly relax. You’ve got the open, introducing the categories, 15 questions, the short interviews with the players, 15 more questions, 30 questions in Double Jeopardy, sum up, introduce Final Jeopardy, then do that, and through it all, you’re the arbiter of every question.”
Richards also shared a nugget about the second week for Rodgers, telling King that there will be a “[f]un moment” that is “Packer-related” and that leaves Aaron “exasperated.”
For Rodgers, the guest-host stint became a three-day experience. Rehearsals on February 16, five shows taped on February 17, five more taped on February 18. “At the end of the three days, Aaron was exhausted,” Ricards told King. “But he was so complimentary to everyone in the studio and on the team. We were his offensive linemen for those three days. He treated us all so well. He hated to go, and we hated to see him go.”
He could still be back. King points out that former long-time champion Ken Jennings is “likely the sentimental favorite” to become the new permanent host, but Rodgers could move the needle much more than Jennings. In the end, ratings will drive the bus. (That’s why Rodgers spent so much time last week granting interviews about his guest-host stint. He knows that if the numbers spike, he gets a chance to wear the belt.)
Richards didn’t tip his hand, but he clearly believes in Rodgers’ post-football potential.
“What I find fascinating about Aaron, is his second career could be better than his first,” Richards said.
If so, why wouldn’t Jeopardy! want that second career to happen there? I definitely wouldn’t bet against it at this point.