JEOPARDY! Host Ken Jennings: ‘I’m Always Delighted to Host’

Photo via Jeopardy! Instagram

JEOPARDY! Host Ken Jennings: ‘I’m Always Delighted to Host’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Ken Jennings has hosted JEOPARDY! alongside Mayim Bialik since the death of Alex Trebek in 2020. Now, Jennings will be the sole host of JEOPARDY! and CELEBRITY JEOPARDY!.

He talked with the Hollywood Reporter about Bialik’s exit and what it means for him to be the only JEOPARDY! host.

“The winningest contestant in JEOPARDY! history, Jennings was named the syndicated program’s permanent co-host last year alongside Mayim Bialik, with the two of them splitting hosting duties on the daily syndicated show and on its primetime specials,” the Hollywood Reporter said. “On Dec. 15 Bialik revealed that she would no longer be hosting the syndicated edition of the program, with Jennings set to take over that program on a full-time basis.”

Movieguide® previously reported that Bialik would no longer be part of the show. Sony, the owner and producer of JEOPARDY!, had let Bialik know that it would discontinue her role to maintain consistency for viewers.

Bialik said:

“I am incredibly honored to have been nominated for a primetime Emmy for hosting this year and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the JEOPARDY! family,” she [said]. “For all of you who have supported me through this incredible journey and to the fans, contestants, writers, staff and crew of America’s Favorite Quiz Show, thank you.” 

Jennings opened up about his response to Bialik’s removal from the show.

“It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I’m gonna miss her. I can’t speak to her decision-making process or her opinions about it,” he said.

“I was very surprised. I did not get a heads up…I really enjoyed working with her these past couple of years,” Jennings recently told Cinema Blend.

Despite the loss of his co-host, Jennings feels grateful that it allows him to be the permanent JEOPARDY! host.

“On my end, I’m just a fan of JEOPARDY! and I’m always delighted to host when they call upon me. I just feel extremely lucky to have even been considered for this job as a non-broadcaster,” he gushed.

“It’s kind of a weird thing to try to bring back an ex-contestant to host, and I’ve obviously been learning as I go. But I loved growing up with JEOPARDY! where Alex was the host of that show for almost 38 years, and people just kind of felt like he was part of their family, and it’s impossible to fill those shoes,” Jennings continued. “But it’s such an honor and hopefully I look forward to 37 more years of doing it, when I’ll be a very, very old man.”

The host also shared why he loves CELEBRITY JEOPARDY!. Unlike the regular version of the show, celebrity contestants thrive in the spotlight.

“It’s really what I love about CELEBRITY JEOPARDY!, which is that even if people love regular JEOPARDY! for its reliability and its stability, this is a version of JEOPARDY! where anything can happen, and that’s kind of fun to take this format that you’ve seen every night for 40 years and kind of tweak it, and the contestants are looser, they’re having a little more fun,” he shared.

“…That’s a big part of JEOPARDY! as you’re watching. You’re watching three laypeople, three non-performers perform.” He continued, “And with celebrity you really do kind of have the joy of, what if somebody can play the game and tell jokes or have fun at the same time.”

Though sometimes the playful spirit can become a little too much, and Jennings has to be the “bad cop” who tells them to “get back to the board.”

Jennings also admires the celebrities for how well they play the game. The questions they are given would be hard for regular contestants, but they still give them a shot.

“What’s remarkable is how well the stars tend to do at a show they’re just learning, and doing for fun for a good cause,” he told the Laughing Place.

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