It has been a wild and crazy couple of years for fans of the venerable quiz show Jeopardy!. First, the perhaps most beloved game show personality of all time, Alex Trebek passed away from pancreatic cancer after hosting the show for 37 seasons. After some rocky issues finding a new host, things seem to have finally hosted and got back to the easy, comforting safety of a Daily Double. But it must be difficult for the producers of the show to pass up having a new famous face on screen because now they are trying to pull legendary comedian Steve Martin into the Jeopardy! fold.
A little backstory for this: on a recent episode of Jeopardy!, a man named Sam Buttery won a $100,000 prize and presumably, a tip of the hat for having an awesomely delicious name. He managed to catch the Internet’s notice, however, when people pointed out that Buttery (who is an Associate Professor of Operations Research at The Naval Postgrad school in Monterey, California) bears a striking resemblance to Steve Martin. And of course, Steve Martin, being the kind of guy who apparently keeps a close eye on Jeopardy!, immediately tweeted that he was going to enjoy splitting the prize money with Buttery. The official Jeopardy! Twitter account naturally leaped on the opportunity and announced they would be happy to have the star of Cheaper by the Dozen on the show any time.
After Alex Trebek’s death, Jeopardy! faced the difficult process of replacing a public figure who had essentially occupied popular imagination for decades. The show brought on a sometimes delightful, sometimes bewildering series of interim hosts (who we all understood to be basically auditioning for the podium in the glare of the public eye), ranging from familiar media figures like Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper to past champion Ken Jennings to odd choices like Dr. Oz and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In a widely reviled turn of events, the show chose the little-known Mike Richards, who also happened to be a producer of the series. After a series of controversial podcast remarks he had made, alleged inappropriate behavior, and general public outrage, Richards stepped down and Jeopardy! announced that Jennings and Mayim Bialik would first temporarily, then through the 38th season, host the show.
For his part, Steve Martin has never had significant experience with Jeopardy!, except presumably as someone watching and live-tweeting it. However, the 76-year old comedian has been on yet another career resurgence starring on the popular Hulu streaming show, Only Murders in the Building, with Selena Gomez and longtime friend Martin Short. The show has begun filming its second season, while Martin himself has published a book of cartoons, reprised his Father of the Bride role for a short film, and recently inducted Paul Rudd into Saturday Night Live’s Five-Timers Club. While neither Steve Martin nor the producers of Jeopardy! have made any official announcements if the star of Three Amigos and Planes, Trains and Automobiles will actually stop by, here’s hoping.