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Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings Chokes Up While Honoring Alex Trebek During First New 'Jeopardy!' Episode

By Jeff Mazzeo

The show must go on!

Ken Jennings honored the late and great Alex Trebek at the start of the first new episode of "Jeopardy!" on Monday. It marked Jennings' first-time guest hosting the program and the first time anyone other than Trebek sat behind the dais in several decades.

"Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life," Jennings said before addressing the contestants.

Scroll down to see the clip.

Fitting Tribute

Ken Jennings and Alex Trebek.

The somber guest host continued his tribute, "Not many things in life are perfect, but Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years, and it was even better up close."

Jennings spoke about Trebek's charm, grace, and other admirable characteristics before getting a little choked up.

"Like all "Jeopardy!" fans, I miss Alex very much, and I thank him for everything he did for all of us," Ken said. "No one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek."

See the clip below.

He Will Be Missed

Alex Trebek

Alex passed away on November 8, 2020, after a long, and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. The quick-witted host first revealed his cancer diagnosis in March 2019 with a video addressed to his loving supporters. Trebek said he felt obligated to let people know as part of his "long-time policy of being open and transparent" with the "Jeopardy!" fanbase.

Alex Trebek's wife Jean recently shared a tribute to Alex for World Pancreatic Cancer Day. The official "Jeopardy!" Twitter page shared her words:

"It's about time we stop taking for granted the preciousness of each day and start living in the full experience of kindness and coherency." Jean said at the time. "Today is #WorldPancreaticCancerDay. Wear purple in honor of Alex, and help raise awareness for the risks and symptoms of pancreatic cancer."

Good Host?

Ken Jennings as guest host of 'Jeopardy!'

Jennings admits that he's well aware that the audience isn't going to immediately go gaga for him. "I'm with the audience," he said during his first interview as guest host. "I don't want me out here, I want to see Alex out here! I know exactly how they feel."

Ken expressed his gratitude to the program, Alex, and the fans for the opportunity to be the first guest host. "I'm just happy to help out," he said.

The production staff will not announce their plans for a permanent host but will be trying out different personalities behind the lectern. Is Ken a good fit?

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