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"Jeopardy!" will resume production with Ken Jennings as the first interim host

Ken Jennings named interim host of "Jeopardy!"
Ken Jennings named interim "Jeopardy!" host 00:21

"Jeopardy" will resume production on November 30 just weeks after the show's beloved host Alex Trebek died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the show announced Monday. Former contestant Ken Jennings, who is widely regarded as the best "Jeopardy!" player of all time, will serve as the first of a "series" of interim hosts before the show announces Trebek's permanent replacement. 

"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 a statement. "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." 

The show, which is distributed by ViacomCBS, said additional hosts will be announced in the coming weeks.

"Jeopardy!" fans have been speculating for weeks about who will permanently replace Trebek, and Jennings, "Reading Rainbow" host LeVar Burton and ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos have become some of the more popular picks.

Jennings, who won "JEOPARDY!'s Greatest of All Time" showdown, holds the all-time records for most consecutive games won and highest winnings in regular-season play, the show said.

"There will only ever be one Alex Trebek, but I'm honored to be helping Jeopardy! out with this in January," Jennings tweeted following the show's announcement. 

Jeopardy Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings with a trophy on "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time."  Eric McCandless/ABC via AP

Trebek spent more than 35 years hosting the show before his death at age 80. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2019.

The show also announced that it would no longer air Trebek's final episodes during the holidays "due to anticipated preemptions around Christmas and New Year's." Instead, the episodes will now air the week of January 4, 2021, and what the show called "10 of his best episodes" will air the weeks of December 21 and 28. The new guest-hosted episodes will begin on January 11.

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