‘Jeopardy!’: Guest Host Ken Jennings Reveals Story Behind Pencil Alex Trebek Used on Set

by Halle Ames

If you were ever wondering what ‘Jeopardy!’ guest host Ken Jennings or the late Alex Trebek was writing throughout the game show, you aren’t alone. 

Ken Jennings was a former contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Furthermore, Jennings holds the record for the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time, as well as having the longest winning streak on ‘Jeopardy!’ with 74 consecutive wins.

Since the passing of host Alex Trebek, Ken Jennings has been filling in as the show’s interim host. After a week and a half at the new position, Jennings has received mostly positive reviews from fans.

Ken Jennings Responds to Fans’ Question

In addition, Jennings has given viewers as inside to ‘Jeopardy!’ logistics that help the show run smoothly. One Twitter user and avid Jeopardy! fan took to social media to ask the new host about a pencil Jennings keeps on him throughout the show, just as Alex Trebek did throughout his 37 years as host. 

While the repose to the pencil’s purpose isn’t groundbreaking, it finally rests the idea that it is for show. 

“You’re doing a really, really fine job, @KenJennings. Thanks for keeping @Jeopardy morale up! PS, what do you note w/ the pencil?! I always wondered what #AlexTrebek was writing during the show…”

Ken Jennings responded to the fan mail, answering the question any viewer has asked themselves at least once while watching ‘Jeopardy!’ 

“Like Alex, I’m using it to mark off clues as they’re selected. (It’s actually a long black crayon instead of a pencil or marker, so it doesn’t scratch or squeak on mic.)”

The magic of showbiz. 

Ken Jennings has also gotten the approval from previous players. Buzzy Cohen, who won nine games, which include the 2017 Tournament of Champions, took to social media to congratulate Jennings. Cohen said that been making the audience as well as Alex Trebek “proud.” 

Another former contestant that had given the nod of approval includes Nibir Sarma, the 2020 College Champion. He said that Jennings’ “demeanor” is one of his strengths, along with his positive attitude, that is, “encouraging the contestants.”

Ken Jennings is one of a string of celebrities that are set to serve as interim guest host on ‘Jeopardy!’