Ken Jennings proved Jeopardy! will also be Jeopardy! with out Alex Trebek

Jeopardy! entered an unsure new technology on Monday, however by means of the top of the episode, the exhibit’s long run seemed much more confident.

The Jan. 12 episode of Jeopardy! — the exhibit’s 8,311th for the reason that debut of its present incarnation in 1984 — used to be its first one with out mythical host Alex Trebek, who died in November on the age of 80. Taking Trebek’s position at his hallowed lectern used to be possibly the exhibit’s most famed noncelebrity contestant: Ken Jennings, champion of the Largest of All Time match, who’s the primary in a sequence of period in-between visitor hosts.

Jennings walked out onto the level following Johnny Gilbert’s advent — “This is the visitor host of Jeopardy!, Ken Jennings!” — and (understandably) were given off to just a little of a shaky get started in talking about Trebek and about his personal time as a contestant.

“Like any Jeopardy! lovers, I leave out Alex — very a lot,” mentioned Jennings, his voice breaking. “And I thank him for the whole thing he did for all folks. Let’s be completely transparent: No person will ever exchange the good Alex Trebek. However we will honor him by means of taking part in the sport he liked.”

And honor him he did. With the assistance of the contestants, who’re, as Trebek all the time mentioned, the actual stars of the exhibit. As soon as the Jeopardy spherical started, it used to be remarkably clean crusing for everybody concerned.

Jennings will not be blessed with the herbal gravitas of Trebek’s deep, authoritative voice, honed all the way through his pre-game-show occupation as a broadcaster in his local Canada. However he already had some revel in studying Jeopardy! clues in his function as a consulting manufacturer, which started this season, and it confirmed. Since contestants can’t buzz in till the instant after the speaker finishes studying the clue, timing is important: Longtime audience, possibly clicking a retractable pen in time with the gamers on TV, discovered to clock Trebek’s dependable cadence. And Jennings controlled to ship the similar planned tempo as his cherished predecessor.

Above all, a bunch’s activity is to care for go with the flow and seem personable. Audience liked Trebek for his wit and his regularly deadpan humor, particularly when he engaged in delicate ribbing of the contestants — each all the way through the interview phase and all the way through the sport itself. Jennings pulled all of it off admirably, possibly aided by means of his years of revel in as a participant.

When the $2,000 clue within the “Pick out Up the Homophone” class — “A bunch making a song, or a collection of 24 sheets of paper” — stumped all 3 contestants, Jennings remarked that he had figured that third-podium participant Julia Shear Kushner would possibly know the proper reaction: What’s choir/quire? Kushner, a legal professional from Lengthy Seashore, California, had mentioned in her interview that she sings in a choir with a number of alternative attorneys.

And as Solutions within the Type of Questions: A Definitive Historical past and Insider’s Information to Jeopardy! writer Claire McNear famous on Twitter, bringing up avid fan Mark Hinog, each Jennings and Trebek ended their respective first episodes — greater than 36 years aside — by means of chiding the brand new champion for his or her diminutive Ultimate Jeopardy bet.

“I’m hoping [the contestants] really feel that I’ve a way of cohesion with them — you understand, that I’m rooting for them; that I understand how arduous it’s and the way it feels; that once I’m inspired, that’s authentic, as a result of I do know what they’re going via,” Jennings mentioned in an interview with Jeopardy!’s manufacturers, responding to a query about what he brings to the webhosting gig.

Tanay Kothari, a trade operations affiliate from Oakland, California, shrugged when Jennings printed his $zero bet at the Ultimate Jeopardy class, 1960s Songs. “Now he makes a decision to not take a possibility!” mentioned Jennings, relating to the truth that Kothari had long gone for a real Day by day Double two times all the way through the sport.

Kothari used to be most probably kicking himself a bit of bit, since he were in a position to get a hold of the proper reaction to the clue: “The title of this identify tune from a 1964 film will also be translated from Spanish as ‘Lengthy Are living the Meadows.’” (Jennings used to be searching for this: What’s “Viva Las Vegas”?) However then, Kothari’s warring parties couldn’t catch him Ultimate Jeopardy — the sport used to be a “runaway,” as Trebek would have put it, and Kothari used to be topped the brand new Jeopardy! champion with an excellent tally of $26,800.

As quickly because the credit rolled, my spouse became to me to mention that she idea Jennings had executed an ideal activity, and I needed to agree. Jeopardy! won’t ever be the similar with out Alex Trebek, however in only one episode on the helm, Jennings proved that the exhibit can nonetheless really feel like house.

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