'Jeopardy!' Champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter Call Alex Trebek Irreplaceable Ahead of 'Greatest of All Time' Tournament

A pair of Jeopardy! all-stars had a definitive answer when it came to the quiz show's longtime host, Alex Trebek. Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter were in midtown Manhattan ahead of the upcoming Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament. When asked by TMZ about Trebek's importance to the show, neither minced words.

"He's the best. He is the show," Rutter said, definitively. Jennings also added that Trebek is simply "irreplaceable."

The two also offered a little bit of advice to up-and-coming contestants. "Try to answer more questions right than wrong," Jennings said, rather bluntly. Rutter had some similar, straightforward advice: "Don't guess, you lose money.

Trebek, who began hosting the show after its revival in 1984, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March of last year. Since then, the 79-year-old has maintained his job as Jeopardy! host, though after a "dismal" setback with his treatment in September, the following month he started to accept the fact that he was "nearing the end" of his life.

"I'm not afraid of dying," Trebek said at the time. "I've lived a good life, a full life, and I'm nearing the end of that life ... if it happens, why should I be afraid that?"

Earlier this month, a documentary titled What is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America's Most Popular Game Show aired on ABC, which lead to an emotional outpouring of support among fans.

As far as Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, the upcoming tournament will pit the show's three biggest winners against one another. The narrow roster includes Jennings, Rutter and (relative) newcomer James Holzhauer as they aim to prove who really is the greatest Jeopardy! contestant.


Back in 2004, Jennings set a new record with 74 straight wins on the notoriously difficult quiz show less than a year after the show lifted its five-day limit on winning. Rutter first appeared on the show back in 2000 but was only allowed five rounds at the podium. He was invited back to both the 2001 Tournament of Champions and the 2002 Million Dollar Masters Tournament and won them both. Holzhauer enjoyed a 32-game winning streak earlier this year.

The big three will go brain-to-brain when Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time kicks off Tuesday, Jan. 7 on ABC.