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Ken Jennings says 'no one will ever replace' Alex Trebek in debut as Jeopardy! guest host

Here is the new host of Jeopardy! — for now, at least.

Ken Jennings on Monday debuted as the game show's first guest host following Alex Trebek's death in November. Jennings, a Jeopardy! champion who holds the record for most consecutive games won and was declared the show's greatest player of all time in a 2020 tournament, started off Monday's episode with a tear-jerking tribute.

"Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life," Jennings said. "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. ... Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex very much, and I thank him for everything he did for all of us."

Jennings went on to say that "no one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek, but we can honor him by playing the game he loved."

Trebek's final episode of Jeopardy!, which was filmed less than two weeks before his death, aired on Jan. 8, and it concluded with an emotional tribute montage for the late host. Producers previously announced plans to proceed with a "series of interim guest hosts" before a permanent new host is picked, and the Los Angeles Times reports another future guest host will be Katie Couric. Jennings has taped "at least 30 episodes," The New York Times reports.

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