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Savannah shares how she prepared for the big job of guest-hosting 'Jeopardy!'

Savannah spoke about the challenge of temporarily filling the shoes of the legendary Alex Trebek.
/ Source: TODAY

Savannah Guthrie spent hours watching the master at work in order to prepare for a guest hosting stint on "Jeopardy!," which she called one of the most challenging things she has ever done.

Savannah will be the show's latest guest host starting with Monday night's episode, seven months since the death of legendary "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek from pancreatic cancer.

"I watched a lot of 'Jeopardy!' to prepare," Savannah said on TODAY Monday. "I watched a lot of Alex's episodes. If you want to learn how to be good at something, you watch a person who is the absolute best."

Savannah gave a glimpse behind the scenes of the taping of her 10 episodes, courtesy of the "Jeopardy!" crew. She got a taste of the job that Trebek performed for 37 seasons and more than 8,000 episodes.

"The thing about watching someone host 'Jeopardy!,' when you see Alex Trebek, he made it look easy," she said. "Once they gave me the clues, I read them over and over again and made little notes and practiced my pronunciation with mixed results, let's just say."

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She also gained even more of an appreciation for the type of person Trebek was away from the cameras.

"I knew Alex was an icon before I came here and guest hosted 'Jeopardy!' she said. "But what I didn't know or couldn't really feel was how much he is loved and missed in these halls. I'm more in awe of him. I'm in awe of his skill, but I'm mostly in awe of his goodness, and it's so reflected in the people who worked with him."

Savannah is following guest hosts like legendary "Jeopardy!" contestant Ken Jennings, former TODAY anchor Katie Couric, NFL star Aaron Rodgers, CNN's Anderson Cooper, and most recently, actor Mayim Bialik.

Just like the previous guest hosts, she has selected a charity that will benefit from her appearances on the show. "Jeopardy!" will match the cumulative winnings of the all the contestants from the shows she hosted with a donation to The Bowery Mission, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger and homelessness in New York City.

Savannah's whirlwind week included her taping 10 episodes (and wearing 10 different outfits) in just two days. Her episodes will air this week and next week.

"I'll take 'Relieved Anchors,' for 1,000," she joked behind the scenes after taping her first episode. "The first game is done, only nine more to go. They haven't kicked me out yet."

Just hearing legendary 92-year-old announcer Johnny Gilbert introduce her for that first episode was a surreal moment.

"I am really excited to be here on this iconic stage guest hosting 'Jeopardy!'" she said in a sneak peak at Monday's episode. "I kinda want to pinch myself."

Savannah called it "an honor" and "a joy" to guest host the show.

"I would never have any chance to actually be a contestant on 'Jeopardy!'" she said. "So this is the closest I could ever come. It's beyond my wildest dreams."

A contestant and a pair of the show's writers weighed in on how Savannah did in filling Trebek's shoes for a short time.

"She kept everything moving along with the questions," contestant Katie Sekelsky said on TODAY Monday. "It was just all-around great."

"She read the clues beautifully," co-head writer Michele Loud said. "She ran the game beautifully. Tens across the board."

It was the type of bucket list experience Savannah will never forget.

"Being here, standing behind this podium, I have a new appreciation," she said. "It was hard. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it's also one of the best things I've ever done."