“In high school I became a Jeopardy! fan, I’m a two-time Celebrity Jeopardy! champ and this week, I’ll be the newest Jeopardy! guest host,” the CNN anchor said in a Saturday promo for the game show, which he starts hosting on Monday. “I’m actually kind of nervous.” During the show, Cooper, 53, will fundraise for the medical center Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti.
While the long-running game show searches for a permanent host to replace Trebek who died in November following a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis, a parade of celebs have grabbed the mic, including Dr. Mehmet Oz, Katie Couric, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings. Also on the lineup: Mayim Bialik, Savannah Guthrie and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
“As you probably know, I am a huge Jeopardy! fan,” Cooper told Jimmy Kimmel on Friday, adding that as a child, he watched the show with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt, who died in 2019. “It helped us avoid talking to each other,” he joked.
Cooper, who competed on Jeopardy! four times, explained of his past appearances, “First time, I crushed it. I panicked the night before because I sort of, agreed to do it without really thinking about it…and realized, oh my god, I don’t know anything about geography — I don’t know where the Baltic Sea or the Arabian Sea [is] — all these things run through your mind.”
“The second time, I was playing against Cheech Marin, and I was like, oh my God, this is going to be a cakewalk,” said Cooper. ‘I’ve seen Cheech & Chong movies, the synapses can’t be firing that quickly. Turns out he’s the smartest guy, the quickest guy. He destroyed me. And do you know what it’s like to walk into the CNN newsroom the day after Cheech Marin has destroyed you on Jeopardy? Like, Wolf Blitzer reading the paper, giving you side eye as you walk by.”
Kimmel teased Cooper by presenting him with trivia questions he answered incorrectly on Jeopardy! on the topics geography, history and entertainment (he scored two out of three).
Cooper is set to host Jeopardy from April 19 to April 30.
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