Ken Jennings on guest hosting Jeopardy: ‘You can’t fill shoes like Alex Trebek’s’

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Jeopardy! is searching for the replacement for Alex Trebek who passed away in November from cancer. At the time of Alex’s death Jeopardy! fans were calling for Ken Jennings to replace Alex since he had the longest winning streak in the show’s history. There was also a petition created for Levar Burton to be the next host. However, Jeopardy! is in somewhat of a pickle because Alex Trebek was the face of Jeopardy! and it is going to be damn near impossible to find someone as earnest, likeable and charismatic as Alex.

Trebek’s last episodes of Jeopardy! are airing this week. Until they find a permanent host to replace Trebek, there will be a string of guest hosts, with Jennings as the first. Jennings recently found himself in a social media brouhaha when he defended his podcast partner for being an abusive a-hole to his nine-year-old daughter in the infamous “Bean Dad” incident. Jennings recently did an interview with GMA. He said he doesn’t want to replace Trebek as Jeopardy’s! permanent host because he feels that no one could fill Alex’s shoes. He also said that he had spoken to Alex before his death and that Alex gave him some sage advice about hosting Jeopardy! Below are a few excerpts via People: .

“He was frail, but he was still very much Alex,” the Jeopardy! champion recalled. “I remember him just being very confident in me to be a guest host if he ever needed that — we were hoping we’d have him with us for longer.”

“I was reminded of the thing he always emphasized about the show which was: He’s not the star of the show. The host is not the star of Jeopardy!” Jennings continued. “He always made it about the players and about the competition. It’s just hard to imagine that in the TV landscape today, a star of his size saying, ‘Hey, the game is not about you,’ but that was great advice.”

Trebek’s final string of episodes were originally set to begin airing on Christmas Day, but were delayed “in order to give his millions of fans a chance to see his final appearances,” the show said in a recent press release.

Beginning Monday, a rotation of familiar faces will take over Trebek’s position for now, starting with Jennings and followed by other members of the Jeopardy! family.

“Though a long-term replacement host will not be named at this time, Jeopardy! will return to the studio with a series of interim guest hosts from within the Jeopardy! family, starting with Ken Jennings,” said the show, which resumed production on Nov. 30, in a statement.

“You can’t fill shoes like Alex Trebek’s,” Jennings told GMA of his new post. “He was just a legend and, you know, I’m like everybody else — when I hear that music, I don’t want to see an interim host. In a perfect world, I want to see Alex Trebek.”

“So it was a little bit nerve-wracking being asked to do that,” he added. “It was an honor, but it’s a stressful one.”

[From People]

I still miss Alex. He was another beacon of light that the world got to experience for a short period of time. I don’t think Jeopardy! will ever be the same without Alex but I will continue to watch the show. I know Alex told Jennings that he is not the star of Jeopardy! but Alex truly was. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t instantly think of Trebek when we think of Jeopardy! Ken is right, no one can really fill Alex’s shoes. Nor should anyone try. However, what a new host can do is bring their own personality and spunk to the show and allow fans to adjust.

I do hope that Jeopardy’s producers will take their time to find a new host for the show and seriously consider some of Alex’s suggestions for his successor. I would personally like to see a woman of color take over the reigns. A fresh face to continue Alex’s and Jeopardy’s legacy is what the country needs right now. I didn’t get to watch the season when Ken was a contestant and I don’t know much about Ken so I personally cannot say much. What I can say is that I love the approach of having guest hosts. This will allow fans to adjust to not seeing Alex and it also allows producers to see who the audience responds positively to. I do look forward to seeing who will take over the show. As for Ken, I think he needs to rethink the company he keeps because “Bean Dad” ain’t it.

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9 Responses to “Ken Jennings on guest hosting Jeopardy: ‘You can’t fill shoes like Alex Trebek’s’”

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  1. 2legit2quit says:

    Ken Jennings shouldn’t host Jeopardy not because he can’t fill Alex’s shoes, but because is a racist, misogynistic, Islamaphobic, ableist asshole. And has been for years. His tweets have been exposed.

  2. Other Renee says:

    Alex’s final episodes are still airing this week. It’s totally heartbreaking. I sincerely hope that Ken is NOT selected as the permanent host. He’s been doing guest appearances where he reads the clues of a certain category and he is as dry as cardboard. He has a super inflated ego that oozes from him and he would always make the show about him rather than the contestants. And finally, if he were the host, people would compare every single contestant to him, even the winners. That’s totally unfair to the contestants as well as the viewers.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Alex Trebek wasn’t that impossibly charismatic. Ken Jennings is just even more mayo white bread than he was. And didn’t Ken have some racist douchey tweets of his own?

  4. Coco says:

    I can see why they might want to hire someone younger than Levar Burton (63).
    They could hire Andy Richter. They could hire former contestant Arthur Chu or the other mega winner Brad something.

  5. Sara says:

    Alex mentioned Laura Coates as a possible successor once. I hope she gets a chance to guest host if she wants it.

  6. whatever says:

    I know this is out of left field, but my fantasy host vote is for Hannah Gadsby. She’s intelligent, has gravitas, is quick on her feet, has a great sense of humor, can rock the hell out of a suit, and would be kind to every contestant, which honestly, I didn’t think Alex always was. Any other fantasy host votes?