Alex Trebek sadly passed away last year and in his place on “Jeopardy!,” former contestant and winner Ken Jennings got to host the show for the first time this week. Fans have had mixed reactions to his new role.
On Monday, January 11, 2021, Ken Jennings got to take the helm on “Jeopardy!.” The former contestant of the show had the pleasure of guest hosting an episode of the game show since Alex Trebek’s death.
Trebek, who hosted the show for almost 37 years, sadly passed away on November 8, 2020, after battling cancer. Jennings is part of several people that have been chosen to temporarily host the show.
Ken Jennings poses in this undated handout photo on the set of "Jeopardy!" on an episode broadcast on November 30, 2004 | Photo: Jeopardy Productions/Getty Images
During the show’s opening, the guest host took some time to pay tribute to Trebek. He revealed how sharing the stage with the longtime host had been one of his greatest honors.
Jennings noted how the late star had managed to perform his job almost to perfection for more than three decades. The former contestant shared how much better it was to experience Trebek’s work up close.
Jennings also revealed that the late host had dazzled audiences with his charm, intelligence, and grace. Stating what all diehard fans felt, he also noted how he would miss the late star, adding:
“And I thank him for everything he did for all of us.”
Jennings, 46, acknowledged that the game show had to go on because fans still loved the show. However, he also noted that no one could replace Trebek.
Despite this, the guest host felt the only way to honor him was to keep playing the game he loved. The last episode with the late star aired last Friday and it was filmed ten days before he died.
The touching episode included a montage with the late host’s greatest moments throughout the years. Trebek had been a longtime host of the game show with more than 8,200 episodes since 1984.
Jennings holds the record for the longest “Jeopardy!” winning streak. Fans took to the comments section with mixed reactions on a Twitter clip showing the former contestant giving a go at hosting the show.
A fan felt Jennings and any others who would come after Trebek would not be good enough for them to watch the show. The viewer felt no one could ever fill the late host’s shoes and vowed to never watch the show again.
Another fan wrote that she hoped Jennings wasn’t a permanent replacement for Trebek. She noted that he wasn’t bad at hosting the show but felt that he wasn’t in the same caliber as the late star.
Despite the negative feedback, some fans thought Jennings deserved a chance and called him the new era of the show. A fourth person thought Jennings brought a nice contrast to Trebek.
The fan said the former contestant was doing well and handling the role with ease. He also felt Jennings fit the new role well as he was a “legend” in his own right and deserved the spot permanently.
Someone else berated the other fans for being so critical, thinking the guest host had done a great job and noting that it would be very hard for anyone to match up to Trebek. "Give him a chance," he pleaded.
Before guest-hosting the fan-favorite game show, Jennings received fan mail from none other than Tom Hanks.
Jennings actually revealed that he also didn’t want to be the one guest hosting, and preferred Trebek. The former contestant made the revelation during the promotional video released before the episode.
He confessed that he knew exactly how the fans felt when they saw someone else behind the late host’s lectern. He explained that he was just happy to be able to help with the hosting.
Before guest-hosting the fan-favorite game show, Jennings received fan mail from none other than Tom Hanks. The actor sent the former contestant a typewritten note praising him about his 2004 win.
The star won his third match in the “Jeopardy! Greatest of all Time” contest. He managed to take home $1 million by beating James Holzhauer, who won one match, and Brad Rutter.