Jeopardy! returned Monday night for its new season, with Alex Trebek back as host. The set looked a little different thanks to measures taken to keep the host and contestants safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but fans were still ecstatic about the show's return. Jeopardy! has been a mainstay of television since 1984, and its return helped bring some normalcy to viewers.
Fans immediately noticed how different the set looked. As Ken Jennings explained on Good Morning America Monday, the contestant podiums are far apart to maintain social distancing, instead of having them stand together behind one large bank. Trebek will also stay behind the host lectern instead of walking up to each contestant as he used to do since Trebek's health is "priority No. 1" for the show's producers. Jennings, who won a record 74 games, will also have a permanent role. He will introduce special video categories and is helping with contestant outreach.
Jennings' permanent role began speculation that he is being "groomed" to replace Trebek, 80. Executive producer Mike Richards told The Ringer that is not the case. "We're not shopping. [Trebek is] 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 said. "I just don't think it's appropriate to have that conversation until Alex comes to me and says, 'OK. This is my plan.'"
Richards said he was also surprised by Trebek, who was itching to come back to filming. Trebek is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer but remains the same Alex Trebek fans know and love. "Hardworking, and just comes in, works hard, goes home. And that’s who he is," Richards said of Trebek. He later added, Trebek "holds himself to an incredible standard in his craft and a preposterous standard in the tapings."prevnext