The former contestant called the experience leading the iconic game show “nerve-racking” and wishes the late Alex Trebek was still around.
“I’m like everybody else, I wish it was still Alex out there. But the main thing I noticed is what an amazing job he did, he made it always look so effortless and graceful,” Jennings recently told the Seattle Refined.
“Jeopardy!”s longtime emcee, Trebek, died in November following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.
The Emmy winner served as the host for “Jeopardy!” since 1984, presiding over more than 8,000 episodes.
Ken Jennings took over as interim ‘Jeopardy!’ host after Alex Trebek’s passing.
“It’s been really rough missing him and also just missing ‘Jeopardy!’ with him,” Jennings said. “I think that’s what we’re grieving, the fact that he would be part of our lives, that we could have Alex hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ every evening.”
He added, “I kind of wanted to open the show that way and just say, ‘Look, you can’t replace a great like Alex Trebek. We want ‘Jeopardy!’ to continue. It won’t be the same, but it will still be ‘Jeopardy!'”
Jennings won 74 games consecutively as a contestant in 2004 and has been hosting since Jan. 11. His winnings total ended up being over $3.3 million.
“Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, and Mayim Bialik will each take their turn as guest hosts of Jeopardy! As a part of each guest host’s appearance, a donation will be made to a charity of their choice,” the show’s official Twitter account said on Wednesday.
‘Jeopardy’ announced on Jan. 13, that Couric will become the first woman ever to host the show and will be among those guest hosting on an interim basis along with NFL quarterback Rodgers, ‘Big Bang Theory’ Bialik and ’60 Minutes’ correspondent Whittaker.
Jennings previously told Fox News about a day he spent with Trebek that really affected him.
“I was backstage with him at a tournament and it was before the cancer diagnosis, but he was having a rotten day. He was just feeling lousy. But then the music turned on and the announcer said his name and he just turned him to Alex Trebek and walked out there,” recalled Jennings.
“I asked him about it later and it was not a performance. You know, he’s somebody who actually feels best and is at his most confident and capable when he’s doing his job when he’s hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ because that’s the thing that he has made himself the best in the world at over the last 37 years,” he continued. “I really admire that.. just the idea that the thing you love, the place where you feel like you’re at home, can keep you going.”
“I think about that day not just when I’m on TV, but when I’m doing anything… working on a book or when I’m doing an interview, you know, I just kind of think, how would Alex treat this?” Jennings reflected.