‘Jeopardy!’: Speculation Swirls About Alex Trebek’s Future on Show as Ken Jennings Returns in New Role

In a move surprising for those eagerly awaiting the new 37th season, former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings is joining the show in a new role as consulting producer.

The long-running game show’s fans have already begun wondering what this really means for Alex Trebek as host and whether it’s a kind way of beginning the hand-off of the show to a new host.

'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek with the show's new consulting producer and Greatest of All Time player, Ken Jennings
‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek with the show’s new consulting producer and Greatest of All Time player, Ken Jennings | Jeopardy Productions via Getty Images

Ken Jennings has been hired as a consultant on ‘Jeopardy!’

The announcement that Jennings, 46, had been brought on in a new role as consulting producer was made days out from the show’s 37th season premiere and on the show’s Instagram account.

Accompanied by a video featuring Trebek and Jennings, the post said simply, “Getting hyped for #Jeopardy37? So are we! Check out this sneak peek of what’s to come September 14.”

RELATED: Ken Jennings’ ‘Jeopardy!’ Winning Streak Went So Long, He Admits He Started Making Up Contestant Interview Topics

“We’ve made some changes,” the 80-year-old Trebek said in the video. “And I think you’re going to like them!”

An announcer then added, “The greatest player of all time joins the Jeopardy! team. Entire categories presented by the GOAT himself.”

At the end of the video, Trebek reassures viewers, “Don’t worry, I’ll still be the host.”

That’s not all that’s new for 37th season

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek on His 1 Career Regret

The new season, of course, will reflect a redesign in light of the ongoing pandemic.

The quiz show’s stage was reworked to observe social distancing safely – between contestant podiums.

Spacing away from host Alex Trebek, who is under treatment for stage IV pancreatic cancer, is also at the forefront of producers’ minds.

The host is thrilled to return, saying in a statement on the show’s website, “I feel good, and I feel excited because once again Jeopardy! has demonstrated that it’s at the forefront of television programming,” Trebek said.

“I believe we are the first quiz show to come back on the air in the COVID-19 era. On a personal level, I’m excited because it gets me out of the house. It gives me something to do on a regular basis, and I was missing that.”

Fans’ reactions to Ken Jennings’ hiring

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Despite Alex Trebek’s assurances that he will remain host of Jeopardy!, many fans feel that the changeover to a new host has begun.

Comments from fans to the show’s Instagram post announcing the new season and Jennings’ new role reflected the speculation taking place.

“Looks like they are transitioning Ken in as the future host once Alex is no longer able to do the job,” said one fan.

Another said, “OMGoodness! Alex and Ken together? That will be great!”

Finally, a fan thoughtfully expressed, “I want Alex for as long as possible, but I would accept Ken as maybe the best choice to take on the role. Kinda hope that’s what’s going on. A slow implementation, if not quite a transition yet…We all like Ken very much, I think.”