JEOPARDY! Names Ken Jennings as First Guest Host

For the last few weeks, the future of the beloved quiz show Jeopardy! has been the subject of intense, quiet speculation. After all, what is Jeopardy! without the affable, knowledgeable Alex Trebek? After the longtime host’s passing from pancreatic cancer in early November, many wondered who would replace him—or whether he should be replaced at all. Sure, Jeopardy! is a trivia game show, but Trebek was undeniably its star. But Jeopardy! will go on. The series resumes production on November 30, with Ken Jennings, the greatest-of-all-time contestant and a consulting producer, as first interim host.

In a statement on Twitter, executive producer Mike Richards announced the show would resume, per Trebek’s wishes. Richards said, “Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him. We will honor his legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved.”

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As the musings about Trebek’s potential replacement occurred, Jennings and actor LeVar Burton—the subject of a petition demanding he host—emerged as the two leading contenders among Jeopardy! fans. While Jennings obviously has a long history with the series, Burton is also a uniquely qualified candidate. In addition to his roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Roots, he spent 23 years hosting PBS series Reading Rainbow. Let’s face it, anyone responsible for getting an entire generation of kids to read is pretty well-suited to host Jeopardy! The series has yet to name additional interim hosts, but more announcements should come in the next few weeks.

Before his passing, Trebek taped new episodes through the end of the year. The series announced a two-week celebration of the beloved host, with ten of Trebek’s “best” episodes airing during the weeks of December 21 and December 28. This means we’ll see Trebek’s final week of new episodes commence on January 4. It’s hard to imagine Jeopardy! without Trebek but we’re glad the series is honoring his wishes—and that we still have time to say goodbye.

Featured Image: ABC

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