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Five Best Candidates to Host 'Jeopardy!' With Mike Richards Out

Ryan Phillips
8th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony - Arrivals
8th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony - Arrivals / Rich Fury/Getty Images
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Newly-named Jeopardy! host Mike Richards officially stepped down on Friday, walking away from the job after facing a ton of backlash. The producers of the show are now left scrambling to find a replacement for their replacement. Here's a look at the five best candidates to take the job.

LeVar Burton

The people's champion! Burton's fans lobbied for weeks to get him on the list of guest hosts and he finally got his shot. He spent a week at the podium and was decent for the role. His voice was a bit overly emphatic on occasion, but given time he'd likely settle in to the job. The Grammy, Peabody and 12-time Emmy winner even won an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! back in 1995. He absolutely has a resume worthy of the gig.

More than anything, fans connect with Burton. He's a beloved public figure whose selection would certainly smooth over much of the fallout over the Richards fiasco.

Ken Jennings

Jennings was the first guest host to step in following Alex Trebek's death and did a solid job. He wasn't as polished as some of the other guest hosts, but you can't tell the story of Jeopardy! without him. He's the greatest champion in the show's history and if producers wanted to keep hosting duties "in the family" he'd be the right pick.

Over time, Jennings would likely grow into the host role and become a much more polished broadcaster. As it stands, he was pretty good in his first shot as a television host. He's also only 47, so he could hold the job for several decades and make it his own.

Savannah Guthrie

Guthrie's personality really shined through during her two weeks at the podium. Her shows were a bit more lively than those of her fellow journalists and she seemed more enthusiastic. She was incredibly polished during gameplay and, for me, was the best of the professional broadcasters the show brought in.

Unfortunately, Guthrie is awfully busy as the host of the Today show -- which films in New York -- and the chief legal correspondent for NBC News. She also anchors much of NBC's breaking news coverage. It would be difficult to pry her away from those gigs for Jeopardy!.

Buzzy Cohen

The 2017 Tournament of Champions winner, who also won nine consecutive games during the 2016 season, Cohen was a surprising choice as a guest host. Which is why it was even more shocking when he aced the job and became a fan favorite.

Cohen has a big personality and nailed the difficult job of hosting the Tournament of Champions. While not a polished broadcaster, he showed serious potential and connected both with the audience and the contestants. The 36-year-old should be a serious contender when the final decision is being made.

Mayim Bialik

Well, with Richards out, why not just elevate the other newly-named host. Bialik was announced as the host of future primetime specials and spinoffs of the series. There was some backlash to her hiring, but it received a much better reception than the Richards pick.

The fact that Bialik is a neuroscientist lent a level of credibility to her position as a guest host. She was also smooth and polished at the podium, likely thanks to her years of acting experience. She was excellent during her run and has to be the favorite to take the permanent gig.

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