TODAY’s own Savannah Guthrie will step behind the iconic “Jeopardy!” lectern as a guest host of the show in the coming weeks.
The show aired all of the late Alex Trebek‘s previously taped episodes and has been guest-hosted by Ken Jennings since mid-January. Jennings holds the all-time “Jeopardy!” records for most consecutive games won (74) and highest winnings in regular-season play ($2,520,700).
“Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life,” Jennings said on his first day behind the lectern as host. “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.”
Jennings has adopted his own nightly tribute to Trebek as well.
After thanking viewers for watching, Jennings has been ending each show by saying, “Thank you, Alex.”
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After Jennings, the show will cycle through several other guest hosts. Producers previously announced that fellow TODAY alumna and TV journalist Katie Couric, former “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker will all have a turn at the lectern.
Tuesday, show producers announced Guthrie’s guest-hosting role in addition to television host Dr. Mehmet Oz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They didn’t specify when exactly their episodes will air.
Couric will be the first woman to host the show ever.
Guthrie has been covering the late “Jeopardy!” host on TODAY for years. After Trebek’s death, one of the game show’s executive producers, Mike Richards, spoke to Guthrie and Hoda Kotb about how the late Trebek had struggled in his final days but kept showing up to work.
“What ended up being our final day taping, I knew he was in an enormous amount of pain,” Richards recalled. “As he was leaving, I saw him at the door and I said, ‘That was maybe the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.’ And he had his head down and he kind of looked up and said, ‘Well, thank you.’”
Describing Trebek behind the scenes, Richards said, “He was even better than what you hoped for.”
“He was incredibly hard-working,” he said. “He cared about this show. He cared about the importance of this show and that it helped people want to be smarter. He made that cool.”
No word yet on who will permanently take over Trebek’s role as host.
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