There are few things on this planet that human beings won’t place a bet on, given a volatile situation, a degree of uncertainty, and sufficient cash to burn. Game Of Thrones, national elections, the Puppy Bowl: All are beholden to the oddsmakers’ art, as these wizards of prediction try to figure out exactly how much money you should get if you bet that, say, Jon Stewart was going to give up his life of movie making and cattle rescuing to go host Jeopardy!, and then this improbable turn of events did, in fact, come to pass. (33-1, as it happens.)
Which is all to say: Washington Post entertainment writer Steven Zeitchik got our brains pumping with all the vigor of a Daily Double adrenaline rush today when he posted a list of sportsbook odds (provenance not entirely clear) on who the new Jeopardy! host will be, with names ranging from the obvious (long-time champion Ken Jennings, at 1-1), to “That actually sounds delightful,” like LaVar Burton (20-1), to “Dear god, why would you even put the thought out into the world” (Piers Morgan, at 40-1). The most outside shot that someone actually bothered to venture a number for was Joe Rogan, whose chances of a double reign as Fear Factor/Joepardy! host lands at a slim 66-1.
Other actual frontrunners for the position include sportscaster Alex Faust (18-1) and CNN legal analyst Lauren Coates (same), both of whom received a personal vote of confidence from the late Alex Trebek in recent years. There’s also the usual glut of current game show hosts like Drew Carey (33-1), Pat Sajak (16-1), Tom Bergeron (18-1), and our favorite, Steve Harvey (40-1)—and also apparently George Stephanopoulos (7-2), who’s reportedly been lobbying for the role.
All of which is, in its own weird way, a sort of tribute to Trebek, a man who made a very difficult job look easy, and who carried himself in a way that was funny but rarely mocking, dignified without ever seeming stiff. Finding someone to fill his shoes is a daunting, nigh-impossible task—to the point that not even the people whose job it is to predict human behavior for money might be up to spitting out a decent answer at the moment.