‘Jeopardy!’ Legend Ken Jennings Compares New Host Search to Selecting the Pope

by Chris Haney

On Saturday, a new interview with former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings revealed his opinion about the search for a new permanent host of the game show. Obviously, the position is near and dear to the Jeopardy! legend, and he compared the importance of the search to selecting the pope.

Jennings is well-known as the game show’s greatest ever contestant. He still holds the record for most consecutive wins in a row with his 74-game win streak. For reference, current Jeopardy! champion Matt Amodio has earned his way to third place on the list. Yet his 18-game win streak pales in comparison to Jennings’ historical mark.

Not long after iconic Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died in November 2020, the search began for his successor. The game show bought itself some time by using celebrity guest hosts for months, which doubled as tryouts. In fact, Ken Jennings was appropriately the first guest host on the show earlier this year following Trebek’s death.

Many fans wanted showrunners to select Jennings as the next full-time host. However, Sony Pictures executives went with a duo of hosts. They hired from within when they chose Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards. Additionally, they added actress Mayim Bialik as a part-time host for primetime specials and a new spin-off series.

While speaking with the New York Times recently, Jennings shared his thoughts about the search for the first time. He obviously recognizes the importance of the position and that the show needed to extensively consider all possibilities. He even went as far as comparing the hosting job search to selecting the Catholic church’s next pope.

“It is a little like choosing a pope,” Jennings said to the NY Times. “If you don’t watch Jeopardy!, you don’t understand, but people take this very seriously.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Champ James Holzhauer Makes Fun of Ken Jennings After Permanent Host Announcement

Following the major announcement of the newest Jeopardy! hosts, Ken Jennings was surely disappointed to not be chosen. Yet leave it to your good friends to tease you when you’re down on your luck.

Jennings and fellow champion James Holzhauer became fast friends because of their shared connection to the show. Holzhauer is second on the all-time winningest contestants list, and the two hang out even away from the game show’s set.

As the two permanent hosts were revealed, Jennings took to Twitter like he often does to joke around. Instead of feeling down about it, he laughed it off with an amusing tweet.

“In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have insisted to Jeopardy that I host every episode while eating a loud, juicy apple,” Jennings hilariously tweeted.

“BUT I’m relieved that the guest-host carousel ride is over and excited to start work on the new season. Still my favorite show,” he added.

Jennings and Holzhauer are also both Chasers on the game show The Chase. They act as opponents to the show’s contestants as they answer questions in an attempt to win money. Per the two friends’ usual lighthearted social media banter, Holzhauer chimed in on Jennings’ post.

“Keep your head up, tryouts for the role of Second Best Chaser are still ongoing,” Holzhauer responded to Jennings’ post.