Ken Jennings, One of the Greatest 'Jeopardy!' Players Ever, Will Take Over as the Show's Host | 22 Words

Earlier this month the tragic news emerged that Alex Trebek has passed away, and now, after much speculation over who should be the next Jeopardy! host, it has been announced...

 

He was eighty-years-old.

Jeopardy! host, Alex Trebek, tragically passed away on November 8th.

For those of you that don't know, Trebek has been hosting the popular show for over thirty years.

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Alex took over for the second run of the show after producers decided to bring it back to life. The game show had originally aired in 1964, on NBC. It was created by host and media mogul, Merv Griffin. He even wrote the infamous theme song you hear when Jeopardy! contestants reach the final round.

After having its run on syndicated TV during the late '70s, producers decided to bring back the show for another run.

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And the show has been going strong ever since! It's a good thing that there is a bunch of trivia facts floating around in the world these days...

But last year, Trebek had some sad news to share with us.

"Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week, I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Now, normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working, and with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rates statistics for this disease," he said.

Trebek isn't just a TV host, he's essentially America's dad.

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He knows all the answers, and his deep, calming voice has been a constant source of knowledge and entertainment for us for so many years.

But let's rewind. Can we talk about the part where he says he's under contract for the next 3 years?

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Even in times of darkness, this guy is stronger than ever – and shows us that he has a great sense of humor.

A simpler time...

Remember when the biggest Jeopardy! news was Trebek's beard? I, for one, liked it.

But this wasn't Trebek's first health scare.

He went on hiatus in January of 2018 after undergoing surgery to remove blood clots from his brain. And, miraculously, he quickly bounced back, better than ever.

And, for a while, it looked like our prayers had been answered...

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Because it was announced that Trebek was returning back to work as the host of Jeopardy!. After the initial scare, we'd all been waiting in anticipation for this moment.

The host was still battling the disease.

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Even though he was not technically in remission yet, Trebek has vowed that he will keep working while he's "on the mend." One of the nation's favorite treasures said: "I plan to beat the low survival-rate statistics for this disease." What a man!

It might have been strange to watch him on our screens again knowing his condition, but we were so happy to see him return!

The new season of Jeopardy! with Trebek premiered September 9th.

But fans were then hit with heartbreaking news.

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Following a loss of a whopping twelve pounds in a single week, plus seeing his "numbers go sky-high," Trebek announced that he was undergoing chemotherapy once more.

"The doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again and that's what I'm doing."

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"Cancer is mysterious in more ways than one."

Trebek offered more insight into his battle.

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Alongside the jump in numbers, Trebek claims he was experiencing "excruciating pain" in his back, along with nausea and fatigue.

"So we're back on the chemo."

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"We'll see if the numbers go down. And if they do... they can't keep doing it forever of course."

"They’ll have to find a new protocol or whatever to administer."

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"We'll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose."

He was always so dedicated to his job, though...

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And claimed he'll keep working "as long as my skills do not diminish," although cold sores from his chemo have left him struggling to enunciate.

Amid his health battle...

"When it came to his career, he was forced to consider the "what ifs."

He's letting fans know who he would like to step into his role on Jeopardy.

During a recent interview with Good Morning Americathe infamous host revealed he would like his longtime friend Betty White to replace him on the show. 

He thinks she would be perfect for the job...

"I have no say whatsoever in who will replace me when my days as the host of Jeopardy end. "But I joked with the audience and said Betty White, because they want somebody younger and somebody funnier."

He continued:

"She checks all those boxes. Betty and I have been friends for a long, long time."

But there's another woman who has been his supporting rock throughout all of this.

His wife, Jean. Trebek recently explained how his wife was the one that kept him going, and even went onto say that he would not be here with us today if it wasn't for her.

He told PEOPLE this:

"She's kept me alive. If it weren't for Jean, I'd have put myself out of this a long time ago." "Love has kept me alive," he added.

But this month, he finally lost his battle.

TMZ reported that Trebek has lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on November 8th.

Trebek's legacy will live on...

And in an interview shortly before his death, he revealed that he had planned an 'exit' speech for Jeopardy following his death.

"I will say my goodbyes."

Trebek explained: "What I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the showdown to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That’s all I want'. I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me … then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye."

Many fans have speculated on who will be the next host...

Sharing who they believe it should be with particular name appearing often.

A petition for LeVar Burton to take over as the host was set up and gain a lot of traction.

"Between hosting 21 seasons of the educational Reading Rainbow, playing the brainiac engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: the Next Generation, and filling the roll of Kunta Kinte in the ever important mini-series Roots, LeVar Burton has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds," it reads.

It goes on...

"This petition is to show Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and producers Mike Richards and Harry Friedman just how much love the public has for Burton, and how much we'd all love to see him as the next host of Jeopardy!"

It seems it's a popular opinion...

With over 50,000 signatures at the time of writing.

It's been so popular, in fact, that Burton himself spoke out on Twitter.

But we need not speculate anymore.

As the next host of the show has been announced...

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Ken Jennings, popular contestant, and Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament winner will serve as the first of a series of interim guest hosts.

The trivia game will return to production on November 30th.

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With Sony Pictures Television saying that more guest hosts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards said, "Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him."

Variety reported he also added, "We will honor Alex’s legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues. By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers."

The studio has said that a long-term replacement host will not be named at this time.

Jeopardy! will air a selection of 10 of Trebek’s best episodes in celebration of the beloved host between December 21st and 28th.

The last episodes that Trebek filmed will be airing the week of January 4th, 2021.

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Episodes hosted by Jennings and other guest hosts will begin airing from January 11th. Want more from Alex Trebek? Scroll on...