There has been a lot of speculation that Ken Jennings' new role on Jeopardy! is a "tryout" to replace Alex Trebek as host, but the show's boss has confirmed it is not. In an interview with The Ringer, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards set the record straight, saying, "[Alex is] the host of the show. We're not shopping."
"He's our guy, and he's our guy till he tells us he's not our guy, and then we can have a different conversation," Richards stated. "I just don't think it's appropriate to have that conversation until Alex comes to me and says, 'OK. This is my plan.'" Jennings recently signed on to serve as a consulting producer on Jeopardy! He will work behind the scenes in a significant capacity, but will also have on-camera segments as well. His first will air during Tuesday's episode. Many thought that Jennings might be joining the show in order to be a potential replacement for Trebek, who has been in a long fight with pancreatic cancer.
I'm so excited about today's return of a familiar friend to Jeopardy! That's right folks, I'm talking about... the globe thing behind the logo. pic.twitter.com/hHqnfFwGql— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) September 14, 2020
Trebek first shared the unfortunate news of his cancer diagnosis in March 2019, at the time vowing that he would not be leaving the show for the time being. "Hi everyone, I have some news to share with all of you and it's in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy! fan base," Trebek's statement began. "I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information."
"Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer," he continued. "Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I'm going to fight this, and I'm going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease."
"Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years! So help me. Keep the faith and we'll win. We'll get it done," his statement concluded. "Thank you." Trebek remains the host of the iconic game show, which just launched its 37th season this month.