Matt Lauer hosting 'Jeopardy' could be hazardous

The 'Today' anchor is increasingly unpopular with viewers, but the quiz show's producers are eyeing him to replace Alex Trebek.

By Aimee Picchi Mar 15, 2013 2:02PM

File photo of Matt Lauer on NBC News' Pop quiz a la "Jeopardy": Despite driving away morning viewers from NBC's "Today," he's in the running to host one of the most durable quiz shows on TV.

If you answered, "Who is Matt Lauer?" you'd be right. 

Lauer is at the top of the list to take over the show from host Alex Trebek, who has emceed "Jeopardy" since the current version returned to the airwaves in 1984, reports the New York Post.

Its fans are already bristling at the idea, with some on Twitter writing that they would be "done watching" if Lauer takes over the venerable quiz show. 

Unfortunately for those fans, Trebek is expected to end his run in 2016, when his contract expires. It's not hard to blame him. After all, he's 72, and he suffered a second heart attack last year. He has hinted that retirement might be in the cards, telling Fox News last year that he had been thinking about stepping down from the show.

But messing with an iconic game show carries risks, even if the new host is beloved by TV fans. Lauer, however, is increasingly falling out of that category and would represent a huge gamble for producer Sony Pictures Television, a division of Sony (SNE).

Ratings at "Today" have suffered, with many fans blaming Lauer for former co-host Ann Curry's ouster. He's also criticized for having a huge ego and an even bigger $25 million-a-year deal, which is set to end in 2015. 

That has taken a financial bite out of NBC Universal, owned by Comcast (CMCSA), which saw profits on "Today" dip by $50 million last year because of the show's sinking ratings, according to The New York Times. Given that "Jeopardy" surely is a big moneymaker for Sony, that should be a concern for the production company. 

Lauer's downward spiral with TV viewers is marked by his plunging Q score, a measure of a celebrity's likability, which has fallen by more than half since Curry joined him as co-host in 2011, The Times notes.

For a while, Sony had thought it would need to convince Lauer to work a double-shift, both in the morning on "Today" and later on the game show, the Post notes. However, Lauer might be available when Trebek ends his run, given his dismal ratings on "Today," the publication notes.

Even though Lauer is at the top of Sony's list, another potential host is in the running. That's CNN personality Anderson Cooper, whose contract with the network is said to end next year, the Post adds. 

"I vote for Anderson!" one Twitter fan wrote. 

More on moneyNOW

Mar 15, 2013 2:51PM
UCK!!!!!!  I don't think I could stand his smug, Mr. Know- it- all attitude.  Can't he just go away???  How about Ann Curry for Jeopardy?  Turn around is fair play.
Mar 15, 2013 3:06PM
I don't watch NBC and Lauer is one reason - I will stop watching Jeopardy if they give the job to Lauer - he's an arrogant pig!
Mar 15, 2013 2:58PM
I watch the show every night ,but would stop if matt was the host.
Mar 15, 2013 3:25PM

There's a thought. If you want to kill a show that's been good for years. Replace the original host with somebody that no one likes.


Please do not replace Alex Trabek with Matt Lauer -  Trabek is not a comedian but he does know how to inject humor and has effective facial expressions.. Lauer is as boring as they come.. I only know a little about Anderson Cooper, but he would definitely fit the profile much more better, both in personality and appearance... Trabek deserves to retire.. he has done a magnificent job hosting for all these years.. don't ruin the show by replacing him with Lauer.... result would be a castrophe for the show.
I've watched Jeopardy since the Art Fleming days...if Lauer is the new host in 2016...I will have an open 1/2 hour at 7pm Pacific Time because I just can't stomach that pompous ****.
Mar 15, 2013 3:42PM
That would stink! I say Lauer thumbs down and Anderson Cooper thumbs up! anyone but Matt Lauer, he is a mean arrogant person!
Mar 15, 2013 3:02PM
Lauer....Is not that smart...And might question the answers, making him look like a fool.
Mar 16, 2013 8:14AM
Matt Lauer is a creep.  if this smug, holier-than-thou, creep was to become the host of Jeopardy, the ratings would immediately plummet.  Eventually the show would simply go off the air forever.
Mar 15, 2013 3:53PM
I never miss Jeopardy and don't want to see Lauer replacing Trebek.  Anderson Cooper woul be great.
Mar 15, 2013 3:56PM
Matt is not fit to be the host of that great show...he will ruin it with his obtuse attitude and demeanor.
It will suck **** if he is allowed even breath on that set. Next thing we know, Savannah Gutherie will be replacing Vanna on Wheel....
Mar 15, 2013 9:02PM
I never miss jeopardy. The time slot that it is played locally is one that I always set aside.If matt Lauer takes over as host of Jeopardy i will never watch it again. Jeopardy is a show where people actually have to EARN their way to be a contestant and to win. Having the show hosted by pompous jerk who ,by the way is a terrible interviewer, would be a direct slap to the intelligent people who are willing to risk failure to show what recall intellect they have in front of an audience. I repeat if matt Lauer takes over I will never watch it again and I will use social media to campaign people to boycott the show.
Mar 15, 2013 2:36PM
Lauer & Morales ought to shack up on some secluded island, with Guthrie running errands for them both. 
Mar 15, 2013 4:09PM
LAUER, ?  ? ? ? hah,hah,hah !  How about if he brings on that real funny weatherman with him, and they can torch the show altogether !   Why not open the spot up to some young person instead of these millionaire burnouts they shove in everyones face forever ? They made it,   NOW SEND THEM HOME !
Mar 15, 2013 3:52PM
Yeah, I will be done watching Jeopardy if that arrogant Lauer is on. What is it that TV exec's don't get when viewers don't like someone? NBC must be as arrogant as Lauer! So glad there are other options beside NBC to watch in the AM. Too bad and so sad that they had to throw Anne under the bus. Maybe they are just throwing his name out there to see how unpopular he actually is before they sigh him to the show and have it go down the drain as well. Matty will then  have have time to re-sign his his million dollar contract before it is up. Play smart and look out for yourself Matt.
Mar 16, 2013 7:07AM

Matt is a Traitor, I DO NOT LIKE HIM! 


If they replace Alex with this turncoat, I know I won't be watching any longer, and Jeopardy is my all time Favorite games!


What is worse, Matt don't have the INTELLECT to begin to replace Alex, not unless they are trying to CANCEL the LONG RUNNING GAME SHOW! 


Matt, to me, does not have that stator, or charisma of an intellectual, to host a show like Jeopardy; he appears weak, and would sell out his mother to secure anything in life! 



Mar 15, 2013 2:51PM
This article should be in the form of a question
Mar 15, 2013 3:29PM
good !, put him in there and the show goes off the air for good !!
Mar 15, 2013 2:47PM
They need to get someone who looks good and has a great voice.
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