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George Stephanopoulos on hosting 'Jeopardy!': It was 'intense'

ABC's George Stephanopoulos hosts "Jeopardy!" through Friday.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos hosts "Jeopardy!" through Friday. Credit: Jeopardy! / Carol Kaelson

"Good Morning America" co-anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday reflected on his week guest-hosting "Jeopardy!" after the first of his five prerecorded episodes began airing the night before.

"It feels like so long ago that we taped it," Stephanopoulos, 60, told his fellow co-anchors on the ABC morning show, adding, "It was so intense, it was so much fun. The crew of 'Jeopardy!' are true professionals; they're amazing at what they do. And it was just a great privilege to be a part of it all."

He called the team behind the venerable quiz show "super-kind, hyper-professional, with me every step of the way."

As one of several guest hosts following the death of longtime emcee Alex Trebek in November, Stephanopoulos said the job requirements are: "Don't fumble when reading the clues. Stay focused. Keep things moving. And remember what Alex always said: It's about the game."

The hardest part, he said, is "moving things along. ... [The producers] really just want everything to just keep going, going, going, going, going." He half-joked that the show's "dirty little secret is: Do you ever notice that the host isn't really on camera that much? When you make a mistake you can redo it, the clue."

Stephanopoulos praised the "impressive" contestants as well as the show's writers. "All the writers have been there for years and years and years," he told his "GMA" hosts, "and they put so much work into making sure that each word is precise. And they say you really have to read each clue as if it's poetry, to make sure you're really giving a sense of the meaning."

In a Q&A on the set of "Jeopardy!," posted online Saturday, the journalist recalled that, "Like everyone else, I grew up with 'Jeopardy!,' " and still today, "I love playing with my family, I love competing with myself, watching every night." He added, "The minute I heard I was going to do it and started telling people, everybody lights up. … They think it's the coolest thing in the world. And after doing it for a week of shows," he said, he found that "they're right."

As with each of the celebrity guest hosts who began after the last of Trebek's prerecorded shows aired on Jan. 8, "Jeopardy!" makes a charitable donation equaling the cumulative winnings of each respective week's contestants. Stephanopoulos chose the No Kid Hungry campaign of the organization Share Our Strength.

His "GMA" colleague Robin Roberts hosts next week's shows, followed by actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton from July 26 to 30, CNBC "Squawk on the Street" co-host David Faber from Aug. 2 to 6, and sportscaster Joe Buck from Aug. 9 to 13, closing out the series' 37th season.

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