‘Jeopardy!’: How Long Is Ken Jennings Hosting?

by John Jamison

After months with Mayim Bialik at the helm, Jeopardy! looks to Ken Jennings to lead the show through the rest of 2021. The fan-favorite contestant received some of the highest ratings of any guest host appearing on the show over the last year. We’ll see if that trend continues and what it means for the hosting future of arguably the best game show contestant of all time.

Monday’s episode marked one year since the passing of iconic host Alex Trebek. It also happened to be the first episode with Ken Jennings back in action. However, fans may be surprised to learn that Jennings wasn’t aware of the episode’s significance when taping.

“Apparently, everyone was aware that we were going to air (my first episode) on the anniversary, and nobody told me. They didn’t want to put that in my head. So I was not told until after that it was the Nov. 8 show,” Jennings told USA Today this week.

Even though he was unaware of the significance, there’s hardly a better candidate out there to honor Alex Trebek’s legacy. In the wake of the iconic Jeopardy! host’s passing, his wife, Jean Currivan Trebek, gifted Jennings with a pair of Alex’s game-worn cuff links. It may not seem like much, but Ken Jennings was beyond flattered by the gesture.

All of that said, it seems like Ken Jennings is a great fit to continue hosting beyond the anticipated end-of-year timeline. There is a sizeable contingent of Jeopardy! fans out there who would love to see Jennings continue through 2022.

He has previously said that he’s willing to continue hosting for as long as the show needs, citing Trebek’s desire for the show to go on. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he even recalled a conversation with the late host wherein Trebek expressed confidence in Jennings’ hosting ability, much to the former contestant’s surprise.

Alex Trebek Made Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ Look Easy

For Ken Jennings, hosting Jeopardy! isn’t something you simply pick back up. It’s a challenging job. He explained how hard it is in contrast to how easy Alex Trebek made things look.

“You would like to say just like getting back on a bike. But it’s a very tricky job. The mechanics of hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ are daunting. There’s a lot going on at once, and Alex made it all look so easy. But I can tell you firsthand. It’s not easy.” Jennings told USA Today that he “felt rusty; I hope I don’t look rusty, but honestly, it was just such a delight to be back on that stage.”

Ahead of Monday’s episode, he pleaded with fans not to judge him for knocking some of the rust off.

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