Ken Jennings started his tenure as a guest-host on Jeopardy! with a tribute to the late Alex Trebek. He was the first guest-host to helm the quiz series as it continued after Alex’s death in late October 2020. Ken became a household name during a record 74-game winning streak and a total win of almost $4 million dollars. He was named the Greatest of All Time after beating fellow champs Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer in a series of episodes, as reported by 6 ABC Action News.
In his opening remarks, Ken spoke fondly of his admiration for the television legend and his role as one of the greatest hosts in small-screen history.
The show posted a clip of his statement to their Twitter page seen below. Ken was visibly choked up as he addressed the audience for the first time prior to taking his place behind the show’s lectern.
He said that sharing the stage with Alex was one of the greatest honors of his life and said that not many things in life were perfect, but “Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years — and it was even better up close,” he began.
Ken Jennings steps up to the lectern today as our first guest host – but not before honoring Alex. pic.twitter.com/uOzQ3UfqmN
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) January 12, 2021
Ken said that he and the other players were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, and his grace.
He shared that like all Jeopardy! fans, he missed Alex very much and thanked him for everything he did. He also said that one thing should be very clear, no one would ever replace the great Alex Trebek. However, he could be honored by continuing to play the game he loved.
The late television star was honored at the close of his final taped episode on January 8, as reported by The Inquisitr. A sentimental 90-second time-capsule montage was aired where the television star was seen throughout his 36 years at the helm of the quiz show.
Jeopardy! viewers added their own commentary regarding Ken’s first episode.
“Dude is a nice contrast to the Legend and giant shadow that is Alex, but is also surprising at ease in this role and is doing well. Also, might be the only other person who is a “legend” in the Jeopardy! universe, along maybe with James. I vote for Ken as a permanent host,” wrote one Twitter user.
“I don’t think they expect to replace Alex with Ken. I think they’re hoping Ken and the job of host will eventually meld into something as rare (but different) from Alex. I bet when Alex started he wasn’t as polished as he was when he ended. Give Ken a chance,” penned a second viewer.