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Bill Whitaker Details What It's Really Like To Guest Host 'Jeopardy!' Ahead Of Debut

Bill Whitaker is set to take over the podium on Jeopardy! tonight (May 3), for the first of his two week stint on the popular trivia show as guest host.

The 69-year-old CBS Correspondent chatted with the Washington Post ahead of the premiere episode and opened up about what went into guest hosting the program.

“I work in television news, which is a totally different animal. I’m used to talking to one camera,” he shared with the paper. “Here, you had, I think, four cameras — one swoops in from the side, you talk to that one at the end of one commercial, and then swoops to another one you have to talk to after a commercial, and then the contestants are over on the other side. The thing that I was most surprised about was just how fast-paced it is.”

Bill revealed that he only had one day to rehearse for his appearance, ahead of filming.

“I probably could have used two,” he admits, and added that he quickly picked up on the correct Jeopardy! lingo: contestants give “responses,” not answers, and hosts say a response is “incorrect” instead of wrong.

Bill added that there were a “couple of times I had to pinch myself to say, ‘Oh my gosh! Look where I am. This is crazy’. It looks just like it looks on television. You’re not watching on the box, you’re actually there. The big screen and the questions and the podiums with the guests and the directors and the producers and the whole thing. It is quite surreal.”

“It becomes easier, show by show,” he shared about hosting. “Around show seven, I was like, ‘I think I’ve got this!’ I was feeling a little bit more comfortable. Then you’ve got show eight, nine, 10 and you’re out.”

Like with guest hosts in the past weeks, Jeopardy will be donating to a charity of Bill‘s choice, in an equal amount to the cumulative winnings of the contestants that compete while they’re hosting.

He has chosen the Media Fellowship House, which is a non-partisan interracial and interfaith organization based in Media, Pennsylvania. The house has been used to hold programs for children and senior citizens, and also host civics groups and civil rights activities.

Jeopardy! airs weekdays. Check your local listings for times and channels.

Find out who the next guest hosts will be here!

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'Jeopardy!' Announces Mayim Bialik & '60 Minutes' Bill Whitaker Will Also Guest Host Trivia Show

Mayim Bialik and 60 MinutesBill Whitaker are the latest celebrities to be announced as guest hosts for Jeopardy! in the coming weeks.

Following the passing of Alex Trebek in November 2020, the trivia game show has announced several guest hosts to lead the show as they search for a permanent replacement.

Mayim and Bill join the previously announced Aaron Rodgers, Katie Couric and current guest host, Ken Jennings.

Jeopardy! also revealed that as part of their hosting appearance, the show will make a donation to a charity of the hosts’ choice and it will be equal to the contestants’ cumulative winnings during the weeks they serve as host.

“Alex was a legend, revered by all of us,” Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement. “I want to thank our guest hosts, who will not only help all of us celebrate his great legacy, but also bring their own touch to the show.”

He also told Entertainment Weekly that the guest hosts have chosen people who are “credible giving the clues, people that can actually give the clues accurately, that are going to be able to rule right or wrong on the responses, and that Jeopardy! fans will enjoy in that role, but that will not try to make themselves the star.”

Jeopardy! airs weeknights. Check your local listings for air times.

Aaron spilled the news of him hosting the program earlier this week.