Ken Jennings officially takes over as interim 'Jeopardy!' host
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“Jeopardy!” star Ken Jennings officially took over as interim host after Alex Trebek died last year, opening the show with a call to “honor him by playing the game he loved.”

Jennings, who was named interim host in November after previously winning 74 consecutive games on the show, started “Jeopardy!” on Monday by saying that sharing the stage with Trebek previously “was one of the greatest honors of my life.”

“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 said. “We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace, really, there’s no other word for it.”

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“Like all ‘Jeopardy!’ Fans, I miss Alex very much, and I thank him for everything he did for all of us,” he continued. “Let’s be totally clear: No one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek. But we can honor him by playing the game he loved.”

Trebek died on Nov. 8 at 80 years old after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and announcing his diagnosis on air in March 2019. The late “Jeopardy!” host continued to film episodes of the show while undergoing treatment.

His final five shows aired last week after Trebek had pre-taped several weeks of shows before his death. These episodes were originally slated to air during the week of Christmas, so Trebek opened his last Monday show by calling attention to the “season of giving.” 

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“We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society, and if we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re going to get there,” Trebek said.

Ahead of Trebek’s final show, “Jeopardy!” released a 90-second tribute video ranging across the 37 seasons that he hosted, with the caption, “Simply the best. Thank you, Alex.”

No permanent successor to Trebek has been announced yet. 

Jennings, after being declared the interim host, had apologized for “unartful and insensitive” tweets over several years, saying that “sometimes they worked as jokes in my head and I was dismayed to see how they read on screen.”