"I'm a dork, and I just have to own that," he quipped just hours before the quiz show's theme song played in much of the country. He came to that conclusion watching a video the show produced for him, which included him speaking about his love for the show and clips of his previous appearances.
The CNN anchor also explained that, while he rarely gets nervous, standing where former host Alex Trebek once stood was an exception.
"It was a great honor and very moving for me," Cooper said.
He remembered Trebek, who hosted the quiz show from 1984 until he died in November, as "the perfect host," who conducted himself with "such intelligence, humor and grace."
The journalist has competed on special editions of Jeopardy! four times — and he won twice!— so he knows what it's like for contestants. He earned some positive early reviews on Twitter.
Cooper took over the post from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who himself won Celebrity Jeopardy! twice. In his sign-off message, Rodgers cited a section of Trebek's 2020 memoir, The Answer Is...: Reflections of My Life, about the importance of putting the players first. Rodgers added, "I hope that's how my two weeks will be remembered."
Next on the schedule to host is 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, who will be followed by Jeopardy! champ Buzzy Cohen, Call Me Kat actress Mayim Bialik, Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, and Cooper's colleague, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. On Saturday, the New York Post reported that Joe Buck, the voice of MLB and the NFL on Fox, will also get a shot.
Meanwhile, many fans of the show are still waiting to see Star Trek alum and Reading Rainbow alum LeVar Burton at the helm. As of Monday afternoon, more than 244,000 people had signed a petition calling for him to be the next host.
Reps for Jeopardy! did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment's request for comment.
Read more on Yahoo Entertainment: