When beloved “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died in 2020, he left a vacancy on the long-running game show that’s proven to be particularly hard to fill.
A series of guest hosts handled the duties at first, and then an executive producer spent a brief and controversial time at the show’s helm. Since then, the duties have been split between all-time “Jeopardy!” champ Ken Jennings and star Mayim Bialik — but their temporary reigns end with the completion of the current season.
Who'll go on to become the series’ permanent host? Current champ Mattea Roach has a strong opinion about that.
For Roach, whose 23-game streak and more than $500,000 in winnings (so far) has guaranteed her a spot in the show’s Tournament of Champions, the answer is easy. The 23-year-old has filmed episodes alongside both Jennings and Bialik, and she's revealed that she favors her fellow champ. "I would say Ken because of his history with the show," she noted in an interview with Vulture. "As a contestant, there’s something really special about being onstage with the greatest player of all time. Someone who understands in a very visceral way what it’s like to be in your position."
And that is undeniably true of Jennings, who has the longest consecutive winning streak in “Jeopardy!” history with 74 games, and he didn’t stop there.
In addition to his outstanding performance in the standard game, the 47-year-old has also competed in the “Ultimate Tournament of Champions,” “Jeopardy!: The IBM Challenge,” the “Battle of the Decades,” “Jeopardy! All-Star Games” and “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.”
As for Bialik, she can rest assured Roach's pick is nothing personal.
"Mayim is fantastic, but she doesn’t have that same experience," the Canadian tutor explained.
If Roach's permanent hosting preference becomes a reality, it would mark the game show passing the torch to a man who truly appreciates his predecessor.
“Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life,” Jennings said when guest-hosting “Jeopardy!” last year, just months after Trebek’s death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. “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.”