Ken Jennings Thanks Late ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek as Hosting Run Ends

Ken Jennings' run as the first Jeopardy! guest host since Alex Trebek's death has come to an end. [...]

Ken Jennings' run as the first Jeopardy! guest host since Alex Trebek's death has come to an end. The Jeopardy! champion thanked fans for watching him host the beloved game show for the past six weeks, and added a sweet tribute to Trebek on Friday. Jeopardy! producers have not named a full-time replacement for Trebek yet, but have announced a slate of celebrity guest hosts for the rest of the season.

"That's a wrap on my six weeks of [Jeopardy!] guest hosting. Thanks for watching, thanks for your patience with a tough learning curve...and, as always, thank you, Alex," Jennings tweeted, alongside a photo of himself wearing a purple ribbon. The ribbon shows support for pancreatic cancer research. Trebek died on Nov. 8 at age 80, following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Jennings honored Trebek each night by signing off with "Thank you, Alex."

Jennings, 46, started his run as Jeopardy! host on Jan. 4. He won the first Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament in early 2020 and won several other tournaments on the show since 2005. In 2004, he set the record for the longest winning streak in history by winning 74 games, earning $2.52 million in winnings. Jennings was also brought on as a consulting producer in 2020.

Although Jennings became a fan-favorite on the show, he also became a controversial figure and is therefore reportedly not being considered as Trebek's permanent replacement. In December, some of his insensitive Twitter jokes resurfaced, leading Jennings to issue an apology before his first Jeopardy!-hosted episode aired. "Sometimes I said dumb things in a dumb way and I want to apologize to people who were (rightfully!) offended. It wasn't my intention to hurt anyone, but that doesn't matter," Jennings wrote in part. "I screwed up, and I'm truly sorry. If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we should be kinder to one another. I look forward to heading into 2021 with that in mind."

The next Jeopardy! host is relatively unknown to most viewers. Mike Richards, the Emmy-winning executive producer on both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, will take over from Feb. 22 to March 5. Richards does have some hosting experience in front of the camera, having worked on Beauty and the Geek and Pyramid. After Richards, journalist Katie Couric takes over from March 8 to March 19. The Dr. Oz Show host Mehmet Oz, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Today Show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, actress Mayim Bialik, 60 Minutes journalist Bill Whitaker and CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta have also signed on to guest host Jeopardy!.