Jeopardy!: #8311
January 11, 2021 10:12 PM - Season 37, Episode 76 - Subscribe

The first episode with Ken Jennings as guest host. Aired January 11, 2021.

“Welcome to Jeopardy! You know, sharing this stage with Alex Trebek 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. We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace—really, there’s no other word for it. Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex very much, 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.”
posted by Syllepsis (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have nothing to add about the episode (not being in the US), but looking for more detail in general re: the venerated host and plans for the show's future began by googling "Alex Trebek".

At which point google asked:

Did you mean: who is Alex Trebek

That is all.
posted by myotahapea at 3:27 AM on January 12, 2021 [13 favorites]

Ken doesn’t have Alex’s FM radio voice, and his joke about a hydraulics thesis coming in useful on an anniversary was a bit outré, but we will always have “¡Viva Las Planes!” as one of the great Final Jeopardy mis-steps by someone who knew more about Spanish than Elvis’ film œuvre.
posted by cardboard at 6:51 AM on January 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I read somewhere that he practiced by watching hours and hours of Trebek and it showed. It felt like he was trying to copy Trebek's cadence. I thought he did an ok job, he was a little ridged but it's his first show. The thing is, as much as everyone loved Alex, I don't think we need another Alex. We need someone who will bring their own thing to the show. Maybe that is what Ken would be eventually, I dunno.

I've always liked Ken, I've read some of his books and enjoy his podcast and I think he'd be an ok host but I also think they can do better. I'll be curious to see how the other guest hosts do.
posted by bondcliff at 7:53 AM on January 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I thought Ken acquitted himself well. He seemed quite aware that he was stepping into a giant's shoes, and I don't think he tried to compete with that legacy. He seemed fairly comfortable. I was especially surprised/happy with how adroit he was with non-english words and names, which could easily trip-up most game show hosts.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:50 AM on January 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't really have a problem with Ken essentially copying Alex's rhythms. Jeopardy has never been about the host -- it's about the questions and the answers, and the host's primary job is to read things clearly, add very occasional additional details and stay out of the way of the game itself. I think if he does it for longer, he'll develop his own sense of timing and his own sense of humour, but in the meantime, the game is the thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:57 AM on January 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed it. For his first episode, I think Ken did a good job.

But, is it just me, or do the questions seem easier than they did in the past? I'm pretty sure I haven't gotten any smarter over the past few years.
posted by kathrynm at 5:19 PM on January 12, 2021

Kathrynm, I think it’s more that they write them with some pretty obvious clues worked into them. To me, it seems like it’s gotten a lot more overt/helpful over the past several years.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:09 PM on January 12, 2021

Surprisingly, he did rather well. I went into it expecting to hate and did not hate. He was very rushed and just many words. I am very empathetic and felt my vocal chords start to ache towards the end of the show. Part of the rush was because he spent an untoward amt of time interviewing the contestants and having little back and forths with them, plus of course he talked about Alex Trebec at the beginning, which both left him less time for the actual game. He sounded tense and stiff, but that will change with time.

I don't really care for him at all as a contestant on all of these shows he has suddenly appeared on such at The Chase and Mastermind. He is smug and full of humblebrag. I wished they had chosen a person with more personality and less "GOAT of Jeopardy!" chops. You don't have to be the best player to be the best host. From what I have read so far online, Ken Jennings is a huge hit and apparently has always been the first and pretty much only choice.

Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, and Mayim Bialik are each going to guest host. To bring in more fans, I guess? Or so we can see that WOW Ken Jennings (who has been training for months from what I understand) is so much better than any of these ppl, he should definitely be the permanent host. If Rodgers weren't already raking in the giant huge big bucks doing some other thing I can't really remember (jk), I think he would make a great host. He's really smart, and also smart-assed and self-deprecating. Plus he has a really nice voice, sounds calming to my ears. Bill Whitaker also has a wonderful voice, as does Katie Couric. Just pleasing to the ear. Ken Jennings' voice isn't bad, just not as nice as it maybe could be.
posted by the webmistress at 8:04 AM on January 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

You don't have to be the best player to be the best host.

Apparently Alex never even PLAYED Jeopardy!
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:06 PM on January 14, 2021

This reporting in the LA Times is interesting: The race is on to succeed ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek

I think Ken is doing well, and I like the show with him as host. From that article, I’m not sure he really has the inside track, especially with the unfortunate controversy on Twitter. They may be looking for a more experienced TV presenter.

Of the twitter controversy, aside from the association with Bean Dad and some insensitive jokes, he also pissed off Trump supporters. When people talk about Jennings being controversial, some of it is just that he’s taken shots at the president.

In summary, never tweet.
posted by chrchr at 9:40 PM on January 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

But, is it just me, or do the questions seem easier than they did in the past? I'm pretty sure I haven't gotten any smarter over the past few years.

You just reminded me that about ten years or so ago, I went back to visit my family in America and watched Jeopardy! with my mother one afternoon. I mentioned that they'd really dialed back the difficulty of the questions in recent years (which they had), and my mother, being my mother, took personal offense to this, thinking I was implying she was stupid somehow.

I miss her a lot of the time, but Jesus, she could be infuriating.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:37 AM on January 15, 2021

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