Jeopardy! Names Ken Jennings as Interim Host Following Alex Trebek's Passing
Jeopardy! fans are still reeling from the passing of Alex Trebek, after the legendary host and television personality passed away at the age of 80 earlier this month. In addition to memorializing Trebek's legacy, many began to wonder who could potentially fill his shoes as a replacement on the series, with prolific Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings suggested by many. On Monday, it was announced that Jennings will be hosting the series -- at least for a little while. Jennings is expected to serve as interim host of the series when it begins production on November 30th, and will be the first of several guest hosts to take on the role. The series is not naming a full-time replacement host at this moment.
"Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him," executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement. "We will honor Alex's legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues. By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers."
Jennings holds multiple records thanks to his time on Jeopardy!, which began in 2004 and lasted for a currently-undefeated winning streak of 74 games. Jennings also has the highest average correct responses per game in Jeopardy! history, and has gone on to be the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time with over $5 million in earnings. Jennings won the show's "Greatest of All Time" tournament earlier this year, which pitted him against fellow champs Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer.
Jennings has already been serving as a segment producer on Jeopardy!'s currently-airing 37th season, which has seen him present special video categories, develop projects, assist with contestant outreach, and serve as a general ambassador for the show.
Trebek's passing occurred on November 8th of this year, following an over year-long battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Shortly after Trebek's passing, Jennings posted an emotional tribute to the host, calling him "a lovely and deeply decent man".
"Alex wasn't just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I'm grateful for every minute I got to spend with him" Jennings wrote at the time. "Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family -- which, in a way, included millions of us."
It is unclear at this time who else will serve as an interim host of Jeopardy! in addition to Jennings. Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton has also been a popular suggestion among those on social media