Ken Jennings’ Return To ‘Jeopardy!’ Includes A ‘Souvenir’ To Alex Trebek On The Anniversary Of The Host’s Death

It was one year ago today, November 8, that Alex Trebek died at 80 years old. Jeopardy! still hasn’t settled on a full-time host since his passing (it was Mike Richards, until it wasn’t, and it DEFINITELY won’t be Aaron Rodgers), so Ken Jennings will fill in for the next three weeks. This is his second stint as host, which is a “very tricky job,” he told USA Today. “The mechanics of hosting Jeopardy! are daunting. There’s a lot going on at once, and Alex made it all look so easy. But I can tell you firsthand, it’s not easy.”

Jennings wasn’t aware that his return as host would coincide with Trebek’s death anniversary. The crew knew, but “they didn’t want to put that in my head,” he explained. “So I was not told until after that it was the November 8 show.” Trebek’s passing will go unmentioned during the episode, outside of “possibly a [title] card,” but Jennings said that he “did wear Alex’s cuff links that week, that his wife, Jean, had been kind enough to leave for me. So I do have a little kind of souvenir.”

Jennings’ debut as the inaugural guest host was a huge success — during the first week of his six-week stint, he brought in an average of 10.3 million viewers, second this past season only to Trebek’s final week as host, the Deseret News reported. Of all the 16 guest hosts who would fill in for the show’s 37th season, Jennings had the highest ratings.

Jennings and Mayim Bialik will continue to rotate as hosts for the foreseeable future.

(Via USA Today and Deseret News)