Ken Jennings proved Jeopardy! can be Jeopardy! without Alex Trebek

Jeopardy! went into an unsure brand-new period on Monday, however by the end of the episode, the program’s future looked a lot more guaranteed.

The Jan. 12 episode of Jeopardy! — the program’s 8,311th considering that the launching of its present version in 1984 — was its very first one without famous host Alex Trebek, who passed away in November at the age of 80. Taking Trebek’s location at his hallowed lectern was possibly the program’s most popular noncelebrity candidate: Ken Jennings, champ of the best of Perpetuity competition, who is the very first in a series of interim visitor hosts.

Jennings left onto the phase following Johnny Gilbert’s intro — “Here is the guest host of Jeopardy!, Ken Jennings!” — and (naturally) left to a little an unsteady start in discussing Trebek and about his own time as an entrant.

“Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex — very much,” stated Jennings, his voice breaking. “And I thank him for everything he did for all of us. 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.”

And honor him he did. With the assistance of the entrants, who are, as Trebek constantly stated, the real stars of the program. As soon as the Jeopardy round started, it was incredibly smooth cruising for everybody included.

Jennings might not be blessed with the natural gravitas of Trebek’s deep, reliable voice, developed throughout his pre-game-show profession as a broadcaster in his native Canada. However he currently had some experience reading Jeopardy! ideas in his function as a consulting manufacturer, which started this season, and it revealed. Given that entrants cannot buzz in up until the minute after the speaker completes checking out the idea, timing is crucial: Long time audiences, possibly clicking a retractable pen in time with the gamers on TELEVISION, found out to clock Trebek’s trustworthy cadence. And Jennings handled to provide the exact same intentional rate as his precious predecessor.

Above all, a host’s job is to preserve circulation and appear personalized. Audiences liked Trebek for his wit and his typically deadpan humor, specifically when he participated in mild ribbing of the entrants — both throughout the interview sector and throughout the video game itself. Jennings pulled all of it off very well, possibly assisted by his years of experience as a gamer.

When the $2,000 idea in the “Pick Up the Homophone” classification — “A group singing, or a set of 24 sheets of paper” — stymied all 3 entrants, Jennings said that he had figured that third-podium gamer Julia Shear Kushner might understand the appropriate reaction: What is choir/quire? Kushner, a legal representative from Long Beach, California, had actually stated in her interview that she sings in a choir with a lot of other attorneys.

And as Responses in the Type of Questions: A Conclusive History and Expert’s Guide to Jeopardy! author Claire McNear kept in mind on Twitter, pointing out passionate fan Mark Hinog, both Jennings and Trebek ended their particular very first episodes — more than 36 years apart — by scolding the brand-new champ for their small Last Jeopardy wager.

“I hope [the contestants] feel that I have a sense of solidarity with them — you know, that I’m rooting for them; that I know how hard it is and how it feels; that when I’m impressed, that’s genuine, because I know what they’re going through,” Jennings stated in an interview with Jeopardy!’s manufacturers, reacting to a concern about what he gives the hosting gig.

Tanay Kothari, a service operations associate from Oakland, California, shrugged when Jennings exposed his $0 wager on the Last Jeopardy classification, 1960s Tunes. “Now he decides not to take a risk!” stated Jennings, describing the reality that Kothari had actually opted for a real Daily Double two times throughout the video game.

Kothari was most likely kicking himself a bit, considering that he had had the ability to turn up with the appropriate reaction to the idea: “The name of this title song from a 1964 movie can be translated from Spanish as ‘Long Live the Meadows.’” (Jennings was trying to find this: What is “Viva Las Vegas”?) However then, Kothari’s challengers couldn’t capture him Last Jeopardy — the video game was a “runaway,” as Trebek would have put it, and Kothari was crowned the brand-new Jeopardy! champ with an excellent tally of $26,800.

As quickly as the credits rolled, my other half relied on me to state that she believed Jennings had actually done an excellent job, and I needed to concur. Jeopardy! will never ever be the exact same without Alex Trebek, however in simply one episode at the helm, Jennings showed that the program can still seem like house.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.