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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