‘Jeopardy!’: How One Clue Had Special Connection to Guest Host Ken Jennings

by Michael Freeman

Ken Jennings returning to Jeopardy! to guest host was a welcome surprise fans are excited about. One interesting fact about his first night Monday was one clue on the show had a special connection to him.

Deseret News reported this fun Ken Jennings fact from Monday night. During the second round, a contestant got a Daily Double clue under the “National Historic Landmarks” category. The clue read “Temple Square in this state capital was designated a landmark in 1964.” Salt Lake City is the answer, the city where Jennings lived and worked when he scored his incredible 74-game win streak. Dane Reighard ended up answering the question correctly, as well as winning the game. He walked away with $28,000.

Jennings is set to host Jeopardy! for the next three weeks. After his tenure is up, he’ll rotate with Mayim Bialik. It’s currently unknown how long this will continue. Though Jennings isn’t actively campaigning for the permanent host position, he isn’t necessarily against it.

Speaking to USA Today, he told the outlet “It’s a very tricky job.” Nonetheless, he does love the opportunity. “The mechanics of hosting Jeopardy! are daunting,” Jennings noted. “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. I hope I don’t look rusty. But honestly, it was just such a delight to be back on that stage.”

Ken Jennings Wasn’t Aware His First Night Back on ‘Jeopardy!’ was Very Significant

Getting to guest host Jeopardy! is already enough of an honor, especially for a legendary champion like Ken Jennings. However, unknown to him, his first night back Monday held a huge significance for the show.

November 8 served as more than Ken Jennings’ first night back and a somber reminder at that. Last year on that same date, Alex Trebek passed away. Jeopardy! showrunners also kept this fact a secret from Jennings, Cinema Blend reports. “Apparently, everyone was aware that we were going to air (my first episode) on the anniversary and nobody told me,” Jennings stated.

“They didn’t want to put that in my head,” Jennings continued. “So I was not told until after that it was the Nov. 8 show.” It’s understandable why it was kept from him. Coming back was already likely daunting, and that’s without being aware it was the anniversary of Trebek passing away.

Jennings previously told The New York Post about how scary the experience is. “I knew that it was going to be a very difficult task,” Jennings said about guest-hosting. “Much less the idea that you’re trying to step into the shoes of Alex Trebek, which is impossible.”

Regardless, Jennings seems to be fine so far and I imagine he’ll excel as a guest host.