'Jeopardy!' Interim Host Ken Jennings Chokes Up During Alex Trebek Tribute

By Hayden Brooks

January 12, 2021

Jeopardy! is continuing on without its long-running game show host Alex Trebek and interim replacement Ken Jennings held back tears during the first episode without Trebek on Monday (January 11).

"Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life," Jennings, 46, said during an opening monologue. "Not many things in life are perfect, but Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years — and it was even better up close. We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace — really, there’s no other word for it. Like all ‘Jeopardy!’ fans, I miss Alex. Very much. And I thank him for everything he did for all of us."

The 74-time champ went on to emphasize that Trebek's shoes will never be filled, but there is one way in which he can be honored. "Let’s be totally clear: No one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek, but we can honor him by playing the game he loved," he concluded, before getting into the game on Monday night.

Prior to the episode, Jennings was honest about his guest-hosting duties. "Honestly, I’m with the audience,” he admitted during a promo. "I don't want me out here. I want to see Alex out here. I know exactly how they feel when they see anybody else behind this lectern."

As you know, Trebek died on November 8 after a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. His final five episodes aired last week. In addition to Jennings, it was reported that Katie Couric will serve as interim host on the show after Jennings completes his guest duties.

Photo: Getty Images

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