“It’s really nerve-racking,” Jennings told Seattle Refined, a publication in his hometown, in an interview published Thursday. “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.”
Trebek, who had hosted the game show since 1984, died of pancreatic cancer in November. Jennings, who won 74 games consecutively as a contestant in 2004 and was crowned the game’s “Greatest of All Time” in a Trebek-hosted event last year, has been at the helm since Jan. 11. In his appearances, he’s been open about the loss of the longtime TV fixture, with whom he’d become close.
“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. 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!.”
The show has announced that a series of hosts, including journalists Katie Couric and Bill Whitaker, actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will will appear in the coming weeks.
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