After he stepped onto the “Jeopardy!” stage for the first time as guest host, the legendary contestant turned and faced his TV audience.
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
“Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life,” he said. “Not many things in life are perfect, but Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years — and it was even better up close. We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace — really, there’s no other word for it.
“Like all ‘Jeopardy!’ fans, I miss Alex,” he continued with emotion. “Very much. And I thank him for everything he did for all of us. Let’s be totally clear: No one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek, but we can honor him by playing the game he loved.”
And then “Jeopardy!” continued as it has for decades. Jennings seemed to loosen up as the game went on, and was clearly trying to emulate Trebek with his inflections and mannerisms. Many fans took to Twitter Monday night to share their thoughts about an Alex Trebek-less “Jeopardy!” — everything from Jennings’ obvious love of the game to his noticeable nerves to his rapid reading of the clues.
But overall, people seemed to support Jennings in this new role and were pleased with his debut. According to USA Today, Jennings taped 30 episodes and will be the guest host for at least six weeks. On Twitter Monday night, Jennings shared that he kept an old ticket to the pilot “Jeopardy!” episode hosted by Trebek in his pocket as a “good luck charm” while guest hosting.
A friend gave me this piece of quiz show history: an audience ticket to Alex's very first Jeopardy! pilot from 1983. ("ALEX TREBEK! DOOR PRIZES!") I kept it in my pocket while guest-hosting Jeopardy! this week, as a good luck charm. pic.twitter.com/dpDn67lWPp— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) January 12, 2021
Ken Jennings did a great job in his first episode. He gave a very touching opening statement and was quite personable. Alex Trebek loved Jeopardy and thought very highly of Ken Jennings. No one can ever replace him, but I think Ken did Alex proud #Jeopardy— Just Erin (@WinnipegMommy1) January 12, 2021
#jeopardy truly isn’t the same without Alex Trebek, but Ken Jennings provides *some* sense of normalcy. Except I started crying during his tribute to Alex at the beginning of the show pic.twitter.com/StA8wSEHd2— Neha (@nnehajainn) January 12, 2021
Let’s talk about something positive for once: Ken Jennings speech about Alex Trebek and taking over hosting Jeopardy couldn’t have been better IMO. #Jeopardy— Rachel Catherine (@Dancerette13) January 12, 2021
Nice job, Ken Jennings. I know it had to be hard for you too. I’m still in tears.— Pam (@PamB462) January 12, 2021