Matt Lauer And Anderson Cooper: Jeopardy! Hosts?

By Alex Weprin 

The New York Post‘s Michael Shain has a doozy of a report this morning: Sony Pictures Television is quietly putting out feelers for potential replacements for Alex Trebek at “Jeopardy!,” and Matt Lauer and Anderson Cooper are two names on the list.

Trebek’s contract is up in 2016, while Lauer’s current NBC deal expires in 2015, and Cooper’s ends next year.

But one source says that Cooper — who hosted a competitive reality show on ABC called “The Mole” before his CNN days — knows that “Jeopardy” wants to talk and “he likes the idea.”

Hosting a show like “Jeopardy” is not nearly as time-consuming as a daily show like “Today.”

There are some issues of course: while it is certainly possible to host a syndicated game show alongside a news program, it helps to be in the same city. Both Cooper and Lauer live in New York, and neither are said to be keen on leaving anytime soon. “Jeopardy” shares studio and office space with game show sibling “Wheel of Fortune” in Culver City, California. It is unlikely the show would move, so it would be the anchor who would need to make the switch.

In addition, Sony is not affiliated with any of the major TV networks, so if Cooper or Lauer do stick with Time Warner or NBC, or move to another network, their bosses there will have to be ok with them pulling double-duty. Cooper’s daytime talk show is produced by Time Warner-owned Telepictures.

Also: this sounds like Sony has a list of names, and Lauer and Cooper are on that list. There are presumably other names there too, with with three years to work with, plenty of time for things to change.