Jeopardy! Legend Ken Jennings to Host First Episodes of the Post-Trebek Era

Ken Jennings will be the first interim guest host of Jeopardy! after the death of longtime host Alex Trebek.
Ken Jennings will be the first interim guest host of Jeopardy! after the death of longtime host Alex Trebek. (Image credit: Sony Pictures Television/Jeopardy!)

Ken Jennings, winner of Jeopardy!’s Greatest of All Time Tournament, will be the first interim guest host of Jeopardy!, following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek on Nov. 8 of pancreatic cancer at 80.

“Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him,” said Jeopardy! Executive Producer Mike Richards 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, who holds the record for longest winning-streak on the game show with 74 and the record for highest winnings in regular season play of more than $2.5 million, was hired earlier this year by Sony Pictures Television as a consulting producer. He’s also the person most frequently mentioned as the person most likely to succeed Trebek.

Jeopardy! will resume production on Nov. 30, filming episodes hosted by Jennings.

Jeopardy! also updated its broadcast schedule: in memory of Trebek, the show will air 10 of his best episodes the weeks of Dec. 21 and Dec. 28, 2020. 

Due to anticipated preemptions around Christmas and New Year’s, Alex’s last week of episodes will now air the week of Jan. 4, 2021, in order to give his millions of fans a chance to see his final appearances. The first week of guest-hosted shows will air the week of Jan. 11, 2021.

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Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.