Anderson Cooper found out the hard way following Aaron Rodgers is a fool’s errand. The CNN host’s first week guest-hosting “Jeopardy!” did not get off to the best ratings start, falling 7% to a 5.1 rating, the lowest debut for any of the Sony game show’s guest hosts.
Ratings for syndicated shows for the week ending April 25 were hampered due to extensive daytime coverage of the Derek Chauvin murder trial, particularly on April 19 and 20, the last day of which the verdict was announced.
The 5.1 rating for Cooper’s first week dropped “Jeopardy!” out of the top game show spot, falling behind “Family Feud” which pulled in a 5.5 rating. Cooper’s 5.1 was just below Dr. Oz’s 5.2 rating for his debut week, which had been the previous low for a “Jeopardy!” guest host. Rodgers, the (for now) Green Bay Packers quarterback, began his run with a 5.6; his second week drew a 5.5 rating.
Dr. Oz’s two-week run averaged a 5.1 rating, so there’s still time for Cooper to avoid the cellar.
Thus far, the highest-rated guest host has been Ken Jennings, who drew a 6.2 rating in his first week. In Week 2, he had a 5.9 rating. That all makes sense as Jennings, officially a consulting producer on the game he once dominated, was up first.
Jennings holds the “Jeopardy!” records for wins and cash prizes. He also won the show’s “Greatest of All Time” tournament.
“Jeopardy!” pulled in a 6.6 rating across Alex Trebek’s farewell week in early January. Trebek’s final episode on Jan. 8 drew 14 million viewers, more than any episode in over a year.
Jennings was followed by executive producer Mike Richards, who was succeeded by Katie Couric. In Couric’s second week, “Jeopardy!” fell behind “Family Feud” to finish second for the first time since Trebek’s last episodes. The two weeks with “Dr. Oz” did nothing to lift the show out of second place — most viewers were not happy he got the gig at all.
Future guest hosts after Cooper will be “60 Minutes” veteran Bill Whitaker, former contestant Buzzy Cohen, Mayim Bialik, “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Fox sportscaster Joe Buck, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, David Faber and LeVar Burton.
Fans have been clamoring — and petitioning — for LeVar Burton’s inclusion. Burton is the former host and executive producer of PBS’ “Reading Rainbow.” He played Kunta Kinte in “Roots” and Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”