When legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away in 2020, producers scrambled to find a suitable replacement. The first to take his place behind the iconic lectern was Ken Jennings, who split hosting duties with Mayim Bialik in the game show’s first-ever dual-hosting era.
After many months of working together to accomplish the impossible task of filling Alex Trebek’s shoes, however, Bialik revealed that she would be stepping down as host of the syndicated edition of Jeopardy!
On December 15, Mayim Bialik released a statement about her break from the beloved show. “As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some Jeopardy! news,” Bialik wrote on Instagram. “Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of Jeopardy!“
Bialik’s departure from Jeopardy! thrust Ken Jennings into full-time hosting duties. Now, the official new host of the show is speaking out about the sudden loss of his co-host.
“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.”
Ken Jennings Opens Up About Being Full-Time ‘Jeopardy!’ Host
Despite his surprise at the loss of Mayim Bialik, Ken Jennings is “just a fan of Jeopardy!” at heart. As a result, he’s happy to take his increased role in the show in stride.
“But on my end, I’m just a fan of Jeopardy!,” he said. “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.”
Like any Jeopardy! fan, Ken Jennings knows Alex Trebek is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. He’s synonymous with the show and therefore irreplaceable. But Jennings’ goal has never been to replace Trebek. Instead, he simply hopes to make the game show icon proud.
“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,” Jennings admitted. “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. But it’s such an honor and and hopefully I look forward to 37 more years of doing it, when I’ll be a very, very old man.”