Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings is itching to get back behind the podium. Jennings hosted the game show earlier this year as part of its rotation of temporary hosts in the wake of Alex Trebek’s death. The show has not selected a permanent replacement yet, but Jennings says he is dying to host again.
“I did feel like at the end, I was almost starting to get comfortable, I was starting to enjoy it a little bit,” Jennings said in an interview with My Edmonds News. “I think with time I am starting to figure this out. So I do hope I get another chance.” Jennings hosted the show for two weeks in January, and fans generally responded well to his performance. He has since been followed by a long line of interim hosts in one or two-week increments, including Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper, Aaron Rodgers, Mehmet Oz and Mayim Bialik.
“It’s an extremely hard job,” Jennings said. “You’re running the show in real-time like a referee. You have to read a clue, you have to look up and see what they buzzed in, and as they are answering you have to adjudicate what they are saying and then move on appropriately.” He added that Trebek “did it with such grace, you didn’t really notice how hard it was. My heart goes out to anybody brave enough to try that job.”
Jennings denied having any insider knowledge about who would become Trebek’s long-term replacement. He said: “I do know there will be a permanent host next year. I’m not being coy. I don’t know who that is. Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are multimillion-dollar properties for Sony TV. Those things just print money, and they are going to take this decision very seriously.”
Still, many fans see Jennings as the most obvious choice for the job. Jennings is a record-holding Jeopardy! champion in several ways, and has returned to the show many times to compete in tournaments of other winners as well. He described how much he loved the show and admired Trebek from a young age, and said that Jeopardy! was a vital connection to home for him while he and his family were living overseas.
“He meant so much to me for 20 years before I met him, having been the face of nightly authority and the value and certainty of knowledge in our living rooms for 20 years,” he said of Trebek. Jeopardy! is expected to announce its new permanent hose sometime later this year. The game show airs on weeknights at 7 p.m. ET, check your local listings for the right channel.