‘Jeopardy!’ Legend Ken Jennings Reveals Hosting Is Harder Than Competing

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Ken Jennings is a name associated with Jeopardy! and for good reason as he’s a champion as well as a host of the show. People know that Jennings has a record for 74 consecutive wins. But did you know that he considers hosting the show to be harder than competing there? He would talk about the difference between both sides of the coin in an interview.

“I mean, I had played so many games right here that I thought ‘I have a pretty good sense of what hosting is going to be like’ and then you realize hosting’s even harder because you basically have to do everything the contestants do, plus manage the game for them, plus manage the game for the home viewer,” Jennings would tell Good Morning America on Monday. The New York Post reported that both Jennings and Mayim Bialik sat down for an interview with the ABC morning program.

Ken Jennings Views ‘Jeopardy!’ Stage As ‘A Holy Place’

For her part, Bialik would say that the hardest part around hosting the show has been learning to dampen her excitement “and not make faces” when contestants get the answer right. Jennings would call that space he occupies on the Jeopardy! stage as “a holy space.” Jennings would compare his excitement to being Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “I just feel so lucky,” he said.

One thing that still is part of Jennings’ life is his connection with late host Alex Trebek. He, of course, knows the power and pressure that comes along with being the host of that show. Jennings is walking in the footsteps of someone he admired then and now. The host admitted that he had a lot of anxiety about replacing Trebek. When trying to match Trebek’s stature on the show, it’s not going to be easy. “To this day I still hear Alex echoing in my head every time,” he said. Bialik would add that “I feel like Alex’s presence is here.” She would say that both she and Jennings are striving to imitate that same feeling Trebek would create as host.

Right now, Jennings is the main show host behind the podium. Viewers might be confused when seeing Bialik behind there, too, as well. After all, her time on the daily show will not pick up until after the first of the year. Yet she is the host of Celebrity Jeopardy! airing on ABC. Jennings has other duties to his name, too. He’s going to be running the action when the Tournament of Champions kicks in soon. And he should be a host there because of his own victorious history.