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Ken Jennings is officially joining ‘Jeopardy!’ Here’s what it means

In a video released Thursday, host Alex Trebek said the longrunning game show has made some changes — including bringing Ken Jennings on board.

This image released by ABC shows contestant Ken Jennings with a trophy on “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.” “Jeopardy!” ratings have dropped since Ken Jennings stopped hosting.
This image released by ABC shows contestant Ken Jennings with a trophy on “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.” On Thursday, “Jeopardy!” announced that it will be bringing Jennings on as a consulting producer for the upcoming 37th season.
Eric McCandless, ABC via Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — “Jeopardy!” returns with new episodes starting Sept. 14.

In a video released Thursday, host Alex Trebek said the long-running game show has made some changes — including bringing Ken Jennings on board.

Jennings, who in January claimed the “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” title, is joining the show as a consulting producer for the upcoming 37th season.

“This is so exciting for me. See you in a week and a half!” Jennings tweeted on Thursday.

In this role, Jennings — who amassed a $2.52 million total with a 74-game winning streak in 2004 — will present special clues and categories, help out in the search for contestants and help develop “Jeopardy!” projects, according to the show’s website.

“Don’t worry, I’ll still be the host,” Trebek said in the announcement. “And I’m looking forward to seeing you.”

That didn’t keep some fans, though, from speculating that this move could potentially indicate an eventual transition to Jennings becoming the show’s host. Trebek, who turned 80 in July, has been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. With Jennings’ legendary status on the show, many fans have considered him to be a potential replacement.

“I mean, it’s absolutely a dream job,” Jennings told the Deseret News earlier this year. “What a great job. … But I really can’t even think about anybody but (Trebek) hosting the show. He’s a hero to America’s nerds. I’m not emotionally prepared for turning on the TV and seeing anybody who’s not Alex Trebek — whether it’s me or not — hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ I’m just not ready to consider that yet.

“I hope he hosts for 100 years.”

In July, Trebek gave an update on his health, the Deseret News reported.

“I’m doing well,” the “Jeopardy!” host told fans. “I’ve been continuing my treatment and it is paying off though it does fatigue me a great deal. My numbers are good, I’m feeling great.

“I can’t wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new season in September,” he added.