For many Jeopardy! fans, when theories began to emerge about who could take over hosting duties from the late Alex Trebek, it only made sense to see famous contestant Ken Jennings take over the series temporarily, with tonight seeing Jennings' debut on the game show following Trebek's final episode airing last week. Much like fans know that no one could ever replace Trebek or fill his shoes, Jennings knew the impact Trebek had on contestants and audiences alike, as he kicked off his first episode by sharing his thoughts on Trebek's legacy, as he clearly struggled to hold back his tears. You can check out the touching introduction below.
"Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life," Jennings shared. "Not many things in life are perfect, but Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years, and it was even better up close. We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace, really, there's no other word for it. Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex very much and I thank him for everything he did for all of us."
Ken Jennings steps up to the lectern today as our first guest host – but not before honoring Alex. pic.twitter.com/uOzQ3UfqmN— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) January 12, 2021
He continued, "Let's be totally clear: no one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek, but we can honor him by playing the game he loved."
Jennings is only one guest host for the series that has been announced, with Katie Couric also being named as an interim host. Audiences shouldn't expect a new, permanent host to be named anytime soon, as one producer confirmed earlier this month that the decision likely won't be made until the spring.
"We are going to take our time and talk to a lot of people, have some people guest host and see what our fans think as well," executive producer Mike Richards shared with Deadline. "The search is going very well, there are a lot of people very interested in hosting Jeopardy!, which is gratifying, and also appropriately reverent of the shoes they will be stepping into. We have had some great conversations with people."
He added, "We are going to take our time and talk to a lot of people, have some people guest host and see what our fans think as well."
Stay tuned for details on Jeopardy!'s future.
What did you think of the tribute? Let us know in the comments below!