Former Jeopardy contestant and champion Ken Jennings is the host of the iconic show once again during the first anniversary of the death of Alex Trebek. Jennings is currently is the highest-earning contestant in the history of American game shows.
The 47-year-old host was reportedly unaware that the show he had previously recorded in September would be aired during the particularly somber day. He said during an interview that he had gone through a mix of feelings when he was informed that the show would air on Trebek's death anniversary.
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A Surprise Comeback Episode
Jennings said that he still appreciated how everyone had kept him in the dark until they were actually done recording his first comeback episode. He said that everyone actually knew about the plan except him.
"They didn't want to put that in my head. So I was not told until after that it was the Nov. 8 show," Jennings said.
Now that he knows that the episode would be aired during Trebek's death anniversary, Jennings recalled just how difficult it was to fill the former host's "large pair" of shoes. Jennings described the job as being very "tricky," given that there is a lot going on at once. He added that Trebek had made it look easy despite the challenges.
Jennings will be hosting the iconic television game show alongside actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik. Jennings will be hosting the show's syndicated version, while the "Big Bang" actress will be hosting the primetime version.
As the producers of the show kept its air date a secret, Jennings never mentions Trebek's death during the episode. Jennings will be hosting the show for the next three weeks.
Taking Over The Stage
Jennings originally took over as the host of Jeopardy in November of last year, after Trebek had passed away due to pancreatic cancer. He was the first person to take over as host of Jeopardy since 1974. Jennings said the first episodes after Trebek's passing were particularly difficult for him.
In February, Jennings decided to take a break from hosting the show. Jeopardy producer Mike Richards then took over. Eventually, Jennings and Bialik were hired again to after Richard's high-profile departure.
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Legendary Winning Streak
Jennings is popularly known for his record-breaking run in 2004, where he won the game for 74 consecutive days. Throughout his winning streak, Jennings pocketed more than $4 million in prize money, including other winnings from five other different television game shows.
Because of his winning streak, Jeopardy producers were forced to implement behind-the-scenes changes to the game. This included letting contestants practice using their buzzers. Producers also made sure that different people would be running the buzzers on every episode.