Ken Jennings is making his first appearance as a guest host on Jeopardy! in place of the late Alex Trebek. The game show's most winningest contestant steps into a void left by the iconic host's death in November. The series has announced its plans for a full-time replacement, instead opting to bring in a string of guest hosts like Jennings and Katie Couric.
Ahead of Monday's episode, Jeopardy! shared a clip of Jennings making his entrance and giving his final respects to Trebek before beginning his first game as host. "Sharing the stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life," Jennings opened. "Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex very much." Jennings, who has found himself in some off-show controversy lately, won a record 74 consecutive games that saw him earn $3,370,000 in the process. He also defeated James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in the Jeopardy: Greatest of All-Time tournament earlier in 2020.
While he built up his popularity through his winning rounds as a contestant, coming in as a guest host was completely new territory for Jennings. As such, many viewers were vocal during his first episode about how he was faring in his debut.
Ken Jennings hosting @Jeopardy is the definition of a new era.— Ari Hoffman (@arih1987) January 12, 2021
What a debut @KenJennings, you really did a solid job with enough respect but without fear to fill the void 👏— sileas (@sweetescapes108) January 12, 2021
@KenJennings Tough shoes to fill and I think you’re doing a fantastic job. Alex would be proud.— Jed Scattergood (@jscatty) January 12, 2021
I wonder if @KenJennings felt more relief making it to his first commercial break as a player or as host— Eric Doctor (@RevMrDoc) January 12, 2021
ken jennings is doing a great job on jeopardy but it makes me wanna cry that it’s not alex 😭😭— becca ☭ (@W4LLAC3__) January 12, 2021