Ken Jennings honored Alex Trebek in his first episode as Jeopardy interim host, which aired Monday night. Immediately after taking the stage, Jennings offered a heartfelt tribute to Trebek, and he admitted that he will have quite large shoes to fill as the show’s first guest host. “Not many things in life are perfect,” said the Jeopardy GOAT, “But Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for 36 years.” That he did.
As Jeopardy embarks on a new era, Jennings took a few moments to look back at the beginning of Monday’s episode, which was taped just a few weeks after Trebek died of pancreatic cancer. “Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life,” he said, adding that Trebek’s “perfect” handle on his role as host “was even better up close.”
“We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace — really, there’s no other word for it,” he continued, his voice breaking. “Like all Jeopardy fans, I miss Alex very much. And I thank him for everything he did for all of us.”
Jennings concluded with an acknowledgement that while “no one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek,” the legendary host’s fans and friends can pay tribute in one very special way. “But we can honor him by playing the game he loved,” he said, as he turned his attention to the episode’s contestants. “Jim, Tanay, Julia: welcome to the show.”
The interim Jeopardy host’s tribute to Trebek was met with rave reviews from fans, who praised his message and his hosting abilities. “No one can ever replace him, but I think Ken did Alex proud,” wrote one fan. “Nice job, Ken Jennings. I know it had to be hard for you too,” said another. “It was an emotional night but having you there definitely helped,” wrote another.
Jennings will continue to host Jeopardy for the next six weeks, before other guest hosts, including Katie Couric, step behind the podium. To see how he, and the others, fare, tune in to Jeopardy every Monday to Friday on ABC.