Entertainment insiders claimed Trebek, 79, may leave the quiz show within weeks as he suffers through the final stages of pancreatic cancer, leaving producers scrambling to find someone to fill the TV legend’s shoes.
However, sources said Good Morning America veteran Stephanopoulos, 59, has made it clear to show execs he wants the high-profile gig — even if that means leaving morning TV in the dust.
“For George, it’s really a dream job. The show is fun but brainy, and so beloved by its viewers. He thinks he could transition to it without a hitch,” an insider said.
“While he’s loved his time on GMA, those mornings getting up before daylight have really worn on him. So if the caveat to hosting Jeopardy! means leaving GMA, he would agree to that,” noted the insider.
And sources revealed Stephanopoulos feels he has a leg up in the race because he already works for ABC — which airs the syndicated show in most of the country — but claimed there are many other candidates in the mix, including champion contestant Ken Jennings.
“George has a bit of an advantage since he’s done national TV for years, and producers wonder whether Ken’s funny-but-dry wit would carry over being Jeopardy! host day after day,” the insider said. “But the two of them are definitely front-runners.”
Said a source, “Vanna feels after so many years it’s time she was the host of ‘Wheel of Fortune’, and Pat would be great on Jeopardy! He’s a natural choice, and viewers are already familiar with him.”
And Trebek himself has stirred the pot.
Though he’s claimed he has no input on his Jeopardy! successor, he recently insisted his replacement should have a “good sense of humor” and joked, “Betty White is my choice!”
Stephanopoulos and Sajak did not respond to Radar’s requests for comment.