The guest host for the “Jeopardy!” 2021 Tournament of Champions clearly knows the territory.
The popular syndicated game show Wednesday tapped all-star player Buzzy Cohen, who won the 2017 champions tournament, to guest host the 10-day battle of 15 top winners, which will be broadcast May 17-28 (check local listings).
The winner will take home $250,000 with a matching donation made to Hope of the Valley Trebek Center for the Homeless in honor of beloved longtime host Alex Trebek, who died in November.
Cohen made his first “Jeopardy!” appearance in 2016, winning $164,603 over nine games. After his 2017 Tournament of Champions win, he returned in 2019 as team captain for the show’s All-Star Games. With hosting work requiring Cohen to collaborate closely with “Jeopardy!” writers and producers, he will no longer be eligible for regular tournaments.
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Jeopardy! Champion Buzzy Cohen arrives at the 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival Screening of "Gay Chrous Deep South" at the Ford Theatre on July 26, 2019 in Hollywood, Calif. Cohen has been tapped to host the "Jeopardy!" 2021 Tournament of Champions. (Photo: Amanda Edwards, Getty Images)
“Buzzy has been where each of these champions is, so it’ll be comforting for the contestants to see a familiar face behind the lectern. We will miss seeing him compete, but we look forward to seeing how he uses his quick wit and personality as guest host.” said executive producer Mike Richards, one of the guest hosts to have filled in since Trebek’s death.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is currently guest hosting, following Richards, all-time champ Ken Jennings, journalist Katie Couric and talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz. Upcoming guest hosts include CNN anchor Anderson Cooper (April 19-30), “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker (May 3-14) and “Call Me Kat” star Mayim Bialik (May 31-June 11). Dates have not been announced for two other guest hosts: “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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The Tournament of Champions field includes contestants who have won the most games between the most recent champions tournament in November 2019, won by James Holzhauer, and the end of 2020, as well as the most recent Teachers Tournament and College Championship winners.
Tournament competitors, with their winnings and number of games won, include: Ryan Bilger, Macungie, Pennsylvania, $107,049, 4 games; Karen Farrell, Chesapeake, Virginia, $159,603, 8; Ryan Hemmel, Los Angeles, $104,526, 4; Ben Henri, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, $100,000, Teachers Tournament champion; Mackenzie Jones, Tulsa, $204,808, 8; Sam Kavanaugh, Carlton, Minnesota, $156,202, 5; Steve Moulds, Louisville, $85,603, 3; Jennifer Quail, Dowagiac, Michigan, $228,800, 8; Sarah Jett Rayburn, Hutto, Texas, $89,300, 4; Nibir Sarma, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, $100,000, College Championship winner; Paul Trifiletti, Athens, Georgia, $106,801, 5; Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, Portland, Oregon, $89,001, 4; Kevin Walsh, Williamstown, New Jersey, $111,301, 5; Andy Wood, Ann Arbor, Michigan, $91,999, 4; and Jason Zuffranieri, Albuquerque, $532,496, 19.
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