‘Jeopardy!’ Legend Alex Trebek Explained Why Ken Jennings was a ‘Perfect Storm’ of a Contestant

by Madison Miller

Similar to how there’s no one quite like the late Alex Trebek, the same can be said for “Jeopardy!” icon Ken Jennings.

Currently, the crew of “Jeopardy!” is looking for a full-time replacement for Alex Trebek, who was the host of the trivia show for 37 years. As the show cycles through famous guest hosts that could become long-term hosts, viewers are reminded of just how talented and witty Trebek was at his job.

In a TIME Magazine interview from 2009, Trebek gave similar praise to Ken Jennings. He was asked if he thought the show would ever see someone like Jennings ever again.

“Ken Jennings became our champion not too long after we got rid of the rule that said you had to leave the show after five wins. He wound up winning 74 times. I think Ken Jennings was really the perfect storm of contestant, game, material, and savvy in terms of playing ‘Jeopardy!’ He had a good sense of humor, he was bright certainly, he knew how to play the game …” Trebek said in the interview.

For reference, Ken Jennings still holds the record for the longest consecutive wins on “Jeopardy!” He was on the show back in 2004, but his record has proved nearly impossible to break. The person who came closest to the record was James Holzhauer with a 32-game streak.

During Jennings’ 74-game streak he won $2,520,700. He then returned for a series of different tournaments over the last 15 years or so. His latest was the $1 million first-place prize from the “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” in 2020.

He has since been writing books regarding his life experiences. He also guest-hosted the show directly following Trebek’s death. Jennings could become the next host of the show but has a lot of competition.

At the end of the day, Trebek himself was a big fan of Ken Jennings in all his “Jeopardy!” glory and domination.

“I think Ken was one of a kind. I’m not sure we’re going to see that kind of success ever again on ‘Jeopardy!’ He was with us for four-and-a-half months. My gosh, I was spending more time with Ken Jennings than I was with my wife,” Trebek said.

Ken Jennings Compliments Alex Trebek

Both Jennings and Trebek always had good things to say about each other, as both were icons for “Jeopardy!” After his stint as guest host, Jennings talked about what it meant to fill in for the late host.

“I understand better than anybody that these are very big shoes to fill. I expect people to be a little discontented when they see me. I’m right there with them. The only thing I can do is to try doing the job the best I can … “It’s extremely nerve-wracking. I grew up watching Alex, and he did that job perfectly. But I also knew that it was a hard job from watching him — he just did it so effortlessly,” Jennings told People in January.

He also expressed that Trebek was charming and funny in real life and had become a good friend.

The show is looking to find that full-time replacement that can commit to the show long-term and has characteristics both producers and fans are looking for. “Jeopardy!” is looking to announce a new host by summer ahead of another season.