Ken Jennings Named Interim ‘Jeopardy!’ Host After Alex Trebek’s Death
Ken Jennings, a 74-time Jeopardy! winner, has been made an interim host to replace Alex Trebek after the beloved game show host’s death due to pancreatic cancer. Jennings will be the first of a series of new hosts to take the reins upon Jeopardy! in January.
Dubbed the “Greatest of All Time” after his latest victory as a Jeopardy! contestant, for a total of 74 wins last year, Jennings will jump in as interim host. According to Nielsen ratings, the show received a 22% boost in viewership whenever Jennings appeared. Executive producer Mike Richards, “By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers.”
The producer also clarified that the former contestant would be one of many Trebek replacements.
Jennings celebrated the decision on Twitter while paying homage to his predecessor with a tweet that read, “There will only ever be one Alex Trebek, but I’m honored to be helping Jeopardy! out with this in January.”
There will only ever be one Alex Trebek, but I'm honored to be helping Jeopardy! out with this in January. https://t.co/2m2b5IQnkw
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 23, 2020
Trebek served as host for 37 seasons, with his performance helping the game show’s successful revival in the 1980s, which also earned him five Daytime Emmy Awards. In 2018, rumors circulated about his retiring, but his pancreatic cancer diagnosis soon silenced those discussions. By 2019, his cancer had reached stage 4, meaning it had begun to affect other surrounding organs as well. Jeopardy!’s Twitter account announced his death on November 8 with a post depicting Trebek hosting an episode.
Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex. pic.twitter.com/Yk2a90CHIM
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 8, 2020